Manitoba

Winnipeg man accused of killing 3-year-old boy wanted to hurt mother in the cruellest way, court told

Daniel Jensen is charged with first-degree murder, accused of fatally stabbing three-year-old Hunter Straight-Smith in 2019.

Warning: This story contains graphic details

Hunter Straight-Smith, 3, was stabbed while he slept on Oct. 30, 2019. He was taken off life-support three days later. (Submitted by family)

Warning: This story contains graphic details.

A Winnipeg man accused of repeatedly stabbing a three-year-old boy to death was driven by anger toward the boy's mother, a court trial heard.

Daniel Jensen, 34, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Hunter Straight-Smith in Winnipeg in 2019.

"At its core, we say this is a case about domestic violence," Crown attorney Courtney St. Croix said in her opening statement.

"A case of a man who had so much rage toward his domestic partner, he made a decision to hurt her in the cruellest … way."

The toddler was stabbed multiple times while sleeping in his Pritchard Avenue home on Oct. 30, 2019, the court heard. He was rushed to hospital and taken off life-support three days later.

Jensen was initially charged with several offences, including attempted murder, but that charge was upgraded after the boy died. He has pleaded not guilty. 

Stranger intervened in fight

The case is being heard by a jury before the Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench. The trial, which started Monday, is scheduled to last 20 days.

Video surveillance shows Jensen was at the Northern Hotel bar with Straight-Smith's mother when a fight broke out between them in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, St. Croix said. The fight was interrupted by a stranger, she said.

The Crown alleges Jensen left the Main Street bar and walked to the boy's home on Pritchard Avenue, where Straight-Smith was sleeping. He's accused of stabbing the boy multiple times in the head and neck.

St. Croix said Jensen's actions were not impulsive, but a deliberate act of vengeance.

Daniel Jensen has pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge in the death of Hunter Straight-Smith. (Dan Jensen/Facebook)

"Whatever affection Daniel Jensen may have toward Hunter … it was overwhelmed by his desire to hurt Hunter's mother," she said.

The Crown played a 911 call in which the boy's condition was relayed. The caller was difficult to understand in the courtroom, as the distraught speaker sobbed throughout the call.

A Winnipeg police officer who rushed to the boy's aid was the first witness to testify. 

Rushed to perform CPR

Const. Derrick Klassen said he was directed to the second floor, where he found the boy lying motionless on a bed.

"When I first saw him, I immediately believed he was deceased."

He saw blood, a screwdriver at the boy's feet and a knife in his neck.

Klassen removed the knife and helped perform CPR until paramedics arrived. The boy's pulse was detected before he was rushed to the children's hospital in critical condition.

Other police officers also testified Monday to attending the scene and speaking with the people present. Some officers saw recent blood stains in other parts of the house.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

Winnipeg man accused of killing 3-year-old boy wanted to hurt mother in the cruellest way

3 months ago
Duration 0:59
A Winnipeg man accused of repeatedly stabbing a three-year-old boy to death was driven by anger toward the boy's mother, a court trial heard. Warning: This story contains graphic details. 0:59

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Ian Froese

Reporter

Ian Froese is a reporter with CBC Manitoba. He has previously worked for newspapers in Brandon and Steinbach. Story idea? Email: ian.froese@cbc.ca.

With files from The Canadian Press

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