Hours before taking his own life at the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, accused killer John MacAulay sent a letter to his lawyer that gives instructions on how to find the remains of the man he was accused of murdering.
MacAulay's letter also claims he was not responsible for the death, his lawyer says.
Defence lawyer Kevin Hill said it's not unusual to get mail from clients in jail. So he initially wasn't alarmed when he began reading a seven-page letter from MacAulay on Friday at 10 a.m. CST.
"At the end of it, however, was a change in tone and content that moved away from his version of events into what can only be termed as a suicide note," Hill said.
MacAulay, a member of the Outlaws Motorcycle Club, was charged with second-degree murder in the death of fellow biker Norman Playter.
Hill said the letter is a detailed narrative of what MacAulay said really happened to Playter — including where his body could be found.
Hill contacted the jail and learned that MacAulay had hanged himself in his cell earlier that morning.
The letter had been written and mailed hours before his death.
"I was upset and shocked when I heard he'd done it, very disappointed for him and his family, because I really felt like this was a matter that we were going to successfully sort out," Hill said.
Claim of an alibi
Hill won't talk about the specifics of the letter because he's given it to the RCMP. However, he did describe it in general terms.
Significantly, it gives police instructions about where to find Playter's remains.
"There are several specific things that Mr. MacAulay has laid out, asking me to provide that information to the police, to have them go seize evidence, for instance, the potential for surveillance video, other witness statements of his whereabouts at specific key points in time that may be indicative of an alibi," he said.
Senior prosecutor Krista Zerr confirmed that RCMP and Major Crimes are investigating the tips in the letter.
Desire to see name cleared
Hill said that MacAulay wanted his story told, the individuals responsible for Playter's death held accountable and his name cleared.
The case dates back to the summer of 2014.
Playter had been reported missing to Calgary police. Their investigation showed that he'd been in Saskatoon at the time he vanished.
MacAulay was also in Saskatoon at the time and, as members of the same motorcycle club, were known to each other. Police told CBC that "witness evidence" led them to MacAulay. They suggested that the death followed from a fatal altercation between acquaintances.
MacAulay was charged with second-degree murder and offering an indignity to a body. The Crown alleges Playter's body was stored in a refrigerator and then burned.