Final arguments in murder trial of Fort Good Hope man
Accused man, Colten McNeely, last witness to testify
The judge presiding over the trial of a Fort Good Hope, N.W.T., man has seen and heard all of the evidence he will have to decide whether the man is guilty or not guilty of murder.
Colten McNeely was the last witness to testify at his trial and the one who spent the most time in the witness box. McNeely, accused of second-degree murder in the Sept. 3, 2017 death of Lloyd Edgi, began answering questions Wednesday morning. The prosecutor finished cross-examining him Thursday morning. The trial began on Oct. 28 in N.W.T. Supreme Court.
Prosecutor Blair MacPherson focused on how McNeely's story has changed from the time he did two videotaped interviews with police the day after Edgi was fatally stabbed to death in Fort Good Hope just over two years ago.
McNeely answered many of MacPherson's questions with, "I don't remember," or "I don't recall." The 26-year-old said he drank 12 to 15 ounces of vodka that night and smoked marijuana and was very intoxicated.
But MacPherson suggested McNeely was exaggerating the effects alcohol had on him. "You're using alcohol like a shield, to explain why you don't remember anything," he said.
MacPherson suggested McNeely was acting in anger after being beaten up by Edgi. McNeely initially told police he got his knife from his shack and went to talk to Edgi about an earlier fight between the two men, when the larger man, Edgi, suddenly turned on him.
But during the trial McNeely said the encounter was purely coincidental, that he was on his way to visit some friends when he ran into Edgi on a darkened trail.
He said the much larger Edgi started beating him up again and using the knife was his only way of escaping.
Lawyers for both sides are scheduled to summarize their cases to N.W.T. Supreme Court Justice Andrew Mahar Friday afternoon.