Ottawa prom night murder trial: courtroom watches police interrogate accused

A young man on trial for second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal stabbing of high school student Brandon Volpi was uncooperative during a police interrogation, an Ottawa court saw on Tuesday.

Devontay Hackett, now 21, faces charge of 2nd-degree murder in fatal stabbing of Brandon Volpi

Devontay Hackett was arrested in Toronto in 2014 after Ottawa police put out a Canada-wide warrant for a single charge of second-degree murder. (Ottawa police)

A young man on trial for second-degree murder in the 2014 fatal stabbing of high school student Brandon Volpi was uncooperative during a police interrogation, an Ottawa court saw on Tuesday.

Devontay Hackett, now 21, was 18 when police arrested him in Toronto more than a month after Volpi was fatally stabbed on June 7, 2014 outside Les Suites Hotel on Besserer Street at an after prom party.

Ottawa police Det. Chris Benson, speaking at Hackett's trial at the Superior Court of Justice in Ottawa, took the Crown and members of the jury through video of the interrogation that happened during the early morning hours of July 12, the day after his arrest.

In the one hour, edited video, Hackett is wearing jeans and a black T-shirt, but as the interview progresses he pulls his arms from his sleeves and underneath his shirt next to his body as if chilled.

Benson asks Hackett to tell him what happened that night.

"I'm not really saying anything to be honest," replies Hackett.

'What made you stab Brandon Volpi?' detective asks

Brandon Volpi, 18, died from his injuries after a stabbing outside a downtown Ottawa hotel early in the morning of June 7, 2014. (Photo courtesy of Brandon Volpi's family)
Benson responds, saying though he knows what happened, he needs to know why it happened.

"I don't know what you mean," Hackett said.

Benson then pushes further, asking the young man "What made you stab Brandon Volpi?"

Hacket mumbles "I don't know what you're talking about."

When the detective asks Hackett if he attended his high school prom, ​ the young man replies "You tell me."

But when shown photos from the prom, Hackett does identify himself and several friends.

'I have my rights,' Hackett tells detective

Benson challenges Hackett to "respect yourself" and tell him what happened, prompting Hackett to shoot back, "Why don't you respect me… I have my rights."

Hackett had spoken to a lawyer before the interview and repeatedly tells Benson he's not answering any questions until the next day. But Hackett did deny ever meeting or knowing Volpi.

Three stills taken from a video played during the second-degree murder trial of Devontay Hackett. The Crown alleges Hackett, in white, stabbed Volpi, in black, before fleeing the scene. (Stills taken from video evidence submitted at court)
The Crown alleges Hackett stabbed Volpi during a fight outside the hotel after Volpi came to the defence of a classmate who alleged Hackett was threatening him.

During the last 15 minutes of the video, Hackett is slumped in his chair, his head against the wall, his eyes closed.

Benson tries again and again to engage with him but then gets up and leaves, saying "Don't even pretend you're asleep."