Emotions run high in teen murder trial
Family and friends of slain teen Ashlee Hyatt were visibly shaken Thursday as they endured another round of painful testimony.
Emotional lows came on when Crown Counsel Murray Kaay started to wrap up his case for a second degree murder conviction of an 18-year-old West Kelowna girl, by calling upon forensic pathologist Dr. William Currie.
Two days after Hyatt, 16, was killed outside a Peachland party, Currie was called in to do an autopsy and he reached the conclusion that the teen died when her body shut down from excessive blood loss.
Jurors were shown pictures of the five-centimetre deep wound to Hyatt's neck, just above her collar bone, and told it punctured and deflated her lung and partially severed an artery.
It wasn't the only gash found on her body, either. More superficial cuts to her cheek, ear and hairline area were found.
There were no cuts to her hands, although smears of blood from where she had tried to stem the flow of the nicked artery were apparent.
Currie also determined the wounds incurred matched the blade police confiscated from the Peachland party June 2, 2010.
The emotional burden of the day became noticeably heavier, and tears started to flow, with Crown's final witness.
Recently deceased Michael Baxter was Hyatt's on-again-off-again boyfriend, and had been scheduled to testify during the trial.
He died shortly before the it started, but his observations of the fatal night were recorded during preliminary hearing, and jurors were made privy to that by mid-morning.
Baxter, who was 18 the night of the party, told a judge last year that he was friends with most the party-goers who'd assembled at the Peachland house, including the accused.
His view differed from many other teens who testified, as he was sober.
Baxter testified he arrived at around 7 or 8 p.m. and surmised on arrival he surmised that everyone else had been drinking.
The host and the girl he was seeing at the time were slurring their words, the accused was "obnoxious" while Hyatt likely had been drinking "a little bit."
The mood was light, but "changed when (the accused) started kissing guys."
Everyone at the party had been talking about it, he said, noting he hadn't seen it himself.
What he did see from a vantage point on the deck, however, was the accused trying to speak with her boyfriend over her alleged betrayal.
"They were waiting on the road… they were out there screaming at each other," he said.
"Then (Hyatt) went out to get the (boyfriend) to leave (the accused."
The teenage drama continued to heat up, and Hyatt grabbed the boyfriend and tried to drag him away.
Her back was to the accused, but they continued to scream at each other.
Baxter then moved to the road, because things were starting to get "heated."
Swear words were lobbed and pushes and punches started to erupt.
"They started going at it," he said. "They were rolling around on the ground, hitting each other and pulling hair."
Hyatt "got a couple good ones" in the (accused's face), while he and the boyfriend stood nearby.
By his estimagtes, Hyatt more or less had the upper hand for the fight that lasted just a minute or so.
Then, the accused, turned the tables, he said.
"(She's) pissed off and she reaches into her purse," he said, noting her hand emerged with a knife.
"She was just holding it and saying, 'I'll stab you.'"
Baxter said that she nicked Hyatt's hand, and Hyatt showed those who had gathered the wound.
""You just cut my hand, what's wrong with you?'" he remembered her saying.
Then she went back toward the accused.
They started "going at it again" then Hyatt stopped in her tracks and went toward Baxter, holding her neck.
"I told her it was going to be fine, I was holding her and trying to call 911," he said, his voice broken with emotion.
"Her eyes roiled out of her head, and she started to go blue."
Baxter continued to try and block the blood flow, and passed her on to a friend so he could chase down the ambulance that had passed.
He remembered seeing the accused two more times. First when she was struggling with the party host, then when he went on that run toward the ambulance.
She was behind him, he said, and he told her she "should probably leave."
Defence is expected to start bringing forward witnesses today, and the trial is tentatively scheduled until next Friday.