Woman beaten to death by boyfriend for sitting on his hat

A homeless woman who had checked into a Calgary motel as a break from shelter life just a few days before Christmas was beaten by her boyfriend and died lying on the floor as he slept on the bed above her.

Sylina Ann Curley was killed by Clifton Spotted Eagle in December 2018

Sylina Ann Curley died in a room at the Red Carpet Inn on 16th Avenue N.W. last December. Her boyfriend, Clifton Spotted Eagle, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. (James Young/CBC)

Sylina Ann Curley died on the floor of Room 27 of the Red Carpet Inn in Calgary four days before Christmas while the man who had delivered the fatal blows slept in the bed above her.

The brutal beating was prompted when the 43-year-old woman sat on her boyfriend's hat.

After Clifton Spotted Eagle delivered his blows, Curley asked for help getting from the floor to the bed but her attacker refused and fell asleep.

When he woke up in the morning, she was dead. Spotted Eagle called 911 around 7 am.

On Tuesday, provincial court Judge Brian Stevenson accepted Spotted Eagle's plea to manslaughter.

Details of the crime were read aloud from an agreed statement of facts prepared by prosecutor Carla MacPhail and defence lawyer Rebecca Snukal.

Spotted Eagle told first responders that he grabbed Curley by the neck and and hit her 10 times, including with his elbow. He said he "dropped her."

Spotted Eagle is six foot one while Curley was five foot three. The two were homeless and often stayed at the Calgary Drop-In Centre. 

The two had been staying at the Red Carpet Inn, located in the neighbourhood of Montgomery, as a break from shelter life.

Inside the motel room, police discovered two dozen empty beer cans and three empty bottles of hard alcohol. 

Several reports were ordered ahead of a sentencing hearing, which will take place in December.

Snukal asked for psychiatric and risk assessments as well as a Gladue report, which examines an Indigenous offender's background. 


Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is a justice affairs reporter. She has been covering courts, crime and stories of police accountability in southern Alberta for more than a decade. Send Meghan a story tip at or follow her on Twitter.