Inmate grappled with stabbing victim but didn't kill, defence says

The man accused of murdering a fellow inmate at the prison in Prince Albert in 2003 will learn his fate June 12.

The man accused of murdering a fellow inmate at the prison in Prince Albert in 2003 will learn his fate June 12.

Queen's Bench Justice Ron Mills adjourned sentencing Monday after the Crown and defence made final arguments in the first-degree murder trial of Christopher Cluney.

Cluney, 33, is charged in the stabbing death of Aimé Simard, a biker hitman turned police informant who died at Saskatchewan Penitentiary in July, 2003. He had been stabbed 187 times in his cell.

In closing arguments in a Prince Albert court, the Crown suggested Cluney killed to curry favour with the Hells Angels.

The gang wanted Simard, 35, dead because he had testified against them; Cluney wrote to a "full-patch" gang member offering to help, Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter said.

Cluney then followed through, working with another inmate to murder Simard, Ritter said.

Last month, Cluney's co-accused, Alvin Starblanket, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. He said he acted alone, and was sentenced to life in prison with no eligibility for parole for 13 years.

In his final arguments, Cluney's lawyer Morris Bodnar said that his client was in the cell with Simard and the two scuffled. However, Cluney did not know that Simard was about to be killed, Bodnar said.

Bodnar asked Mills to ignore eyewitness accounts from other inmates, suggesting they can't be trusted.

With a first-degree murder conviction, the sentence is automatically life in prison with no parole eligibility for 25 years.