Joel Clow murder trial examines his behaviour after his arrest
WARNING The details in the story may be disturbing to some
- Joel Clow later pleaded guilty to manslaughter after a previous murder conviction was overturned.
A police video showing a handcuffed Joel Clow thrashing and moaning on the ground after his arrest was reviewed in a Charlottetown courtroom Tuesday, as Clow's murder trial continued.
Clow has pleaded not guilty to first degree murder in the death of Traci Lynch. Lynch's body was found in a wooded area behind Clow's house in Pleasant Grove, P.E.I., in July 2015.
The seven-minute tape was played for the second time in two days, as RCMP Const. Robert John Honkoop took the witness stand to testify.
Police arrested Clow in his home
It's believed Lynch died between midnight and 2:30 am on July 24, 2015.
About 16 hours after her death police found their suspect, Clow, inside his house, in bed, with the covers pulled over his head.
Police testified they placed Clow in handcuffs, that he was cooperative and walked outside.
But once outside the house, Honkoop said Clow's behaviour changed: he started to shake and moan.
Police placed him on the grass for his own safety.
Honkoop is seen in the video, keeping watch over Clow as he lay on the ground.
"Joel, you're OK, you're OK," Honkoop is heard saying on the video, as he places a calming hand on the handcuffed man.
During cross-examination, Clow's defence lawyer emphasized the apparently erratic behaviour.
"Have you ever seen anyone crashing from drugs? Was his behaviour genuine?" defence lawyer Joel Pink asked the officer on the stand.
Known drug abusers
Honkoop agreed that Clow was known to police as an abuser of drugs and alcohol. So too, he agreed, was Lynch.
Honkoop testified he went with Clow in the ambulance to Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Clow, strapped down in a stretcher, was given a sedative by paramedics. Honkoop testified Clow calmed down, and asked someone to loosen his handcuffs.
But at QEH his apparently erratic behaviour kicked up again, the officer testified.
A paramedic who treated Clow in the ambulance had a different take on Clow's behaviour.
Jeff Baglole testified there were inconsistencies in Clow's behaviour — that Clow would calm down, then act up again — suggesting Clow might not be as impaired as it appeared.
Baglole compared it to a child having a temper tantrum, who stops now and again to see if anyone is paying attention.
Clow has acknowledged his physical actions resulted in the death of Traci Lynch.
Crown prosecutor Cindy Wedge has said the question of Clow's intent is a key issue in this first-degree murder trial.
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