Saskatchewan

Court hears victim's blood found on discarded clothing, inside vehicle during manslaughter trial

A manslaughter trial is continuing in Regina with testimony from multiple people on Tuesday.

Witness says she didn't see blood on accused

Gerald Earl McDormand is charged with manslaughter in the death of the 39-year-old Blaine Katz. (CBC)

A Regina courtroom heard from multiple people during a manslaughter trial on Tuesday — including a police officer who photographed the crime scene and someone who was with the accused on the night the victim died.

Police were called to the 2100 block of Cornwall Street on Aug. 12, 2017 after receiving a report of a seriously injured man.

An officer at the trial testified he found Blaine Katz, 39, lying on a stairwell inside of an apartment building and began performing CPR. Paramedics arrived shortly after, but Katz was pronounced dead at the scene.

Gerald Earl McDormand and Steven Paul St. Pierre were charged with second-degree murder initially, but the charges were later downgraded to manslaughter.

St. Pierre pleaded guilty to manslaughter this summer and was sentenced to 12.5 years in prison after admitting he delivered the fatal stab wound.

Court heard he had been brought in as the muscle in an ambush on Katz, who thought he was receiving payment for a drug debt.

Tuesday's testimony

One of the testimonies on Tuesday came from Cst. Melissa Carey with Regina police. She photographed the crime scene and other areas related to the investigation.

She said there was a "very large amount" of blood where the body was found. She also said Katz's blood was found inside of a white Dodge Caliber that McDormand, St. Pierre and a person named Amber Wood were driving in that night.

Carey said she was also sent to the Sunrise Motel, where McDormand, St, Pierre and Wood went after being at the apartment building where Katz's body was found.

Carey said she photographed a pile of clothing that was found near the motel. She said there were several items with Katz's blood on them, including a sock and shoe that also contained McDormand's DNA.

The defence noted that a shirt found in the pile believed to be worn by McDormand did not have any of Katz's blood, nor McDormand's DNA on it.

Witness did not see anyone change clothes at motel room

Amber Wood, who was with McDormand and St. Pierre before and after Katz was injured, also testified on Tuesday.

She said she was with McDormand and St. Pierre at the apartment building where the confrontation with Katz occured, but she was not inside the building when it happened and wasn't aware of any debt between the accused and victim.

She went with McDormand and St. Pierre to the motel afterwards, but she said she had no knowledge of what happened until police arrived at the motel the next morning.

Wood said she also didn't see McDormand or St. Pierre change their clothes while at the motel, nor did she hear anyone talk about discarding clothes.

She said she also didn't notice blood on either of the men when they left the apartment.

Monday testimonies

Sheradon Cyr said he saw Blaine Thomas Katz take his last breath before dying.

Cyr, who was living in the apartment across the hall from Katz, testified on Monday

He told court on the day of the incident he was making music on his computer when two people came through the apartment from the fire exit that also served as his back door.

Cyr said he didn't know what they were doing so he he locked the doors after they left. 

Later he heard a bang along with some yelling.

When he looked in the hallway he saw Katz laying on the stairs.

"He was taking his last breath," Cyr said,

Blaine Katz was killed in August of 2017. (Facebook)

He said he and his cousin Tony Cyr then left the building just as police were arriving.

Also on Monday, Sgt. Maria Rupcich of the Major Crimes Unit took the stand to review surveillance footage from around the time of Katz's death taken from the apartment building on Cornwall Street and the Sunrise Motel.

Footage from an apartment camera show McDormand, St. Pierre and Wood drive up to the building at about 10:30 p.m. They go in and out periodically through the front of the building, then go through a fire exit at the back of the apartment that was open. 

Wood can be seen leaving the building at 11:01 p.m. and did not go back inside.

The Caliber leaves at about 11:15 p.m. with all of them inside. McDormand was seen carrying an object in his hand but Rupcich couldn't confirm what it was.

Footage from the Sunrise Motel shows the Caliber leaving the motel at 10:15 p.m, and returning at 11:27 p.m.

At one point after returning, McDormand is seen holding something in his left arm. He then walks to the side of the building off camera and comes back without anything in his arm

All three can be seen coming and going until 5:51 a.m. when police arrived and the suspects were arrested

The trial is set to last until the end of next week.

About the Author

Cory Coleman is a reporter, web writer and associate producer for CBC Saskatchewan. Have a story idea? Email cory.coleman@cbc.ca

With files from Kendall Latimer