Hysterical screams echoed through a quiet Peachland street the night Ashlee Hyatt was killed, a jury heard through a 911 recording played earlier this week.
“Who did this … who f-ing stabbed her?” a frantic young woman yelled June 2, 2010, while other unintelligible shrieks rang out in the distance.
The teenage boy reporting the stabbing never answered, instead explaining to the 911 operator that Hyatt, 16, was lying on the ground, silently taking in what had just happened to her.
“She looks like she’s in shock … she is not talking to any of us,” he said, as the operator dispatched emergency crews.
Hyatt’s accused killer, now 18, sat still as the audio file reviving the chaos of those moments was played, while family and friends of the slain teen broke down in tears.
The teenage girl who could be heard shouting out questions on the tape was called as a witness, and she too was brought to tears as she relived the moment.
It wasn’t long, however, until defence lawyers brought focus to the situation by asking what she meant by the question; “who stabbed her?”
Considering there were just three other girls at the party that night, and the fatal interaction was only supposed to be between the accused and Hyatt, there should have been little confusion, lawyer Donna Turko contended.
“At the time I was like, ‘Oh my God I didn’t want it to be true’,” the witness explained, adding that she did know it was the accused who stabbed Hyatt.
But she was her “best friend” then, she said, and the experience of holding her sweater to Hyatt’s neck, as she bled out seemed surreal.
“I was not able to believe that my best friend was able to do something so horrific,” she said.
Turko then turned her attention to the teenage feuds that turned violent that night, highlighting several intersecting teenage love triangles.
Who liked whom, and when they “made out” last may have been an issue among the girls who gathered that night, but the two teenage witnesses called to testify to date have highlighted one match-up that sparked the fight that took Hyatt’s life.
They said that the scuffle started when Hyatt called the accused a “slut” for making out with one boy when her boyfriend was nearby.
According to witness testimony the accused, then 16, seemed overwhelmed by the situation, drunkenly shrugging her shoulders and muttering things like, “uh, I didn’t mean to.”
Then that confusion allegedly gave way to violence when she and Hyatt met in the street.
The accused was said to have brought out a knife, and Hyatt was fatally wounded.
Defence, however, contended that the situation was less straightforward.
For one, they indicated that the knife hadn’t been brought to the fight by the accused. The host of the party may have carried it outside, defence suggested to witnesses, who denied the statement.
Then they pointed out that the accused wasn’t just in an ordinary fight.
All the girls had been verbally attacking her the night Hyatt was killed, and by their assessment the situation fit into a current cultural narrative.
“The comments people were making to me remind me of bullying,” said Turko.
That bullying storyline, however, was staunchly denied by the witness, who stressed that there was just one teen fighting another.
“They were both equal in the situation,” she said.
The veracity of that statement was something that Turko called into question later, pointing out that the witness seemed to have deviated from her narrative on more than one occasion.
The teen explained that her original statement was given when she was drunk, after the party.
More than two years have past since then, so her perspective may have changed.
The trial continues Thursday.