Defence not presenting any evidence in Kevin Mantla murder trial

Trial has been adjourned until Thursday when the defence lawyer and Crown prosecutor are scheduled to deliver closing arguments.

Court heard 2 weeks of evidence from prosecutor

Kevin Mantla is pictured at the courthouse in Yellowknife on Jan. 25, 2018. He is charged with second-degree murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault. (Randall McKenzie/CBC)

Testimony in the Kevin Mantla case is over, with the defence opting on Monday not to present any evidence.

The defence was scheduled to begin presenting its case Monday in the trial of the Gameti man, who's accused of a bloody and murderous knife attack in Yellowknife almost two years ago.

Mantla is on trial for murder, attempted murder and aggravated assault in connection with an attack in a Lanky Court apartment that ended with the death of Elvis Lafferty and severely injured his partner, who is also Mantla's ex-girlfriend.

The case has now been adjourned until Thursday morning, when lawyers for both sides are scheduled to present their closing arguments.

The judge hearing the case saw plenty of evidence against Mantla during the first two weeks of the trial.

At least four witnesses who were in the apartment when the knife attack happened have identified Mantla as the assailant. Blood and DNA evidence also link the 38-year-old to the crime.

Video surveillance of him coming and going from a friend's apartment fit the timeline of the attack.

One of the focuses for the defence during cross-examination had been Mantla's level of intoxication. Witnesses who have said he didn't seem intoxicated have been challenged about how they came to that conclusion.

That's an indication that his defence was centering on an element that must be proven to convict Mantla of murder and attempted murder — criminal intent. Under criminal law, the level of intent required for a murder conviction is higher than it is for a crime such as manslaughter.

During the trial, one witness said Mantla smoked crack cocaine and drank vodka in the hours before the attack. Mantla seemed unsteady on his feet in video of him at the police station the morning after the attack.

But some witnesses, including the person he smoked crack with in the hours before the attack and the police officer who first met him at the RCMP detachment when he showed up there the next morning, said Mantla did not seem heavily intoxicated.

Mantla has a long criminal history, which the judge is not allowed to consider in deciding whether Mantla is guilty of the charges he is facing. He's been convicted of assault, assaulting an officer, sexual assault and many breaches of court orders.