Teenagers scrutinized by defence in West Kelowna murder trial
Slain teen Ashlee Hyatt's character was scrutinized during cross examination of a witness who was by her side after she was fatally wounded.
When speaking to the young woman who held a sweater to Hyatt's neck as she bled out from a knife wound, defence lawyer Donna Turko asked questions seemingly aimed at getting a fix on 16-year-old Hyatt's activities.
"Maybe I'm just old school…" she started, directing the witness to a statement given to police June. 3, 2010, the morning after the fatal attack.
In that transcript, the witness told police that Hyatt had made out with several other boys, over the course of an undetermined period of time, and some of them were there that night.
"You didn't call her a slut, but… what are you implying about your good friend (Hyatt)?" said Turko.
The witness said she wasn't implying anything, just stating facts, and indicated she took umbrage at the suggestion she was.
It wasn't the first time that defence homed in on the personal lives of the teens.
There were a number of intersecting teenage love triangles that seemed to have been an issue that night, Turko suggested several times.
The fatal altercation, however, took place June 2, 2010 after the accused, then 16, kissed one boy, while her boyfriend was nearby.
Hyatt could be heard after that calling her a "skank" in a raised voice, said witness Clive Sutherland.
Sutherland took the stand Thursday afternoon, and explained he went to the teen party with his wife, as a favour to a friend.
The mother of the two teens hosting the party was at work that night and their gathering was going on in her Peachland house, unbeknownst to her. As such Sutherland and his wife went to clear the scene.
"My wife told everyone that they had to leave," he said. "Within a few minutes most left, then seven, eight, or nine were still left in the house. They were all prepared to leave… they just needed some time."
Sutherland said his wife then decided to work on a plan that would allow her to stay the night at the house, so the party wouldn't migrate back.
During that time, he heard repeated "arguing on the deck."
"It was always between the same people," he said, noting it was the "girl who passed away" and the accused.
"(Hyatt) was calling the other girl a skank...three, four or five times," he said.
He couldn't remember if the accused said anything, but surmised she had.
"Did the argument cause you concern?" asked crown counsel Murray Kaay.
"Not overly. It was a little uncomfortable, but not over the top," Sutherland replied.
At some point as the teenage drama moved along, the Sutherlands decided that Clive would go get the family's second car, drop it off, and then his wife would stay the night and make sure the house stayed safe.
He was just leaving when he heard yelling and screaming.
"Two girls were in the middle of the road wrestling, and another girl was lying on the shoulder, while two people were standing above her… there were two more in the distance," he said.
Of the girls struggling in the middle of the road, one had a knife and the other had her by the wrists.
"One girl said, 'drop the knife, you stabbed my friend'," said Sutherland.
He identified the teen speaking as the "one without the knife," which was a point of contention for defence lawyer Turko. She later pointed out that it was deviation from what was said in the pretrial, as Sutherland never offered the fact that it was the "girl without the knife" who said that "drop the knife" in the past.
Regardless, Sutherland said he went over to the teens, who he couldn't identify because they had hair in their face, and grabbed the wrist of the girl with the knife.
"Then I grabbed the knife with my other hand," he said, noting he folded the four inch blade up, and stuck it in his pocket.
The teenage girls kept fighting, as he went to Hyatt.
"I recognized her as the girl on the deck, who was accusing the other girl of… being a skank, or whatever," he said.
"She was motionless, breathing very lightly, and pale."
A gash to the right side of her neck was visible, as was a pool of blood.
Next to the wound a balled up shirt lay from where a teen had earlier tried to help stopped the flow.
"I applied as much pressure as I could to stop it from bleeding," he said, noting there were two teenagers, a girl and a boy, standing next to her.
Later, when the police arrived, he handed the blade to them.