Lone defence witness in Charlotte Lafferty murder trial saw unknown man out walking

The last witness to testify in the trial for Charlotte Lafferty’s murder, and the only witness called by the defence, says a man wearing a jacket with white marks called out to him near where she died. 

Lafferty, 23, was found beaten to death the morning of March 22, 2014, near the seniors’ complex in Fort Good Hope, N.W.T. The accused, who was 17 years old at the time of Lafferty’s death, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder. His name cannot be published under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Roland Codzi, who is from Colville Lake, N.W.T., testified he was visiting and drinking at a number of homes in Fort Good Hope on the night before and the morning of Lafferty’s death.

Codzi testified that while walking away from the elders’ complex, he saw a lone man walking. He said the man called out to him but, on the advice of the friend he was walking with, he did not reply.

Codzi said he didn’t notice what colour jacket the man was wearing, but said it had white marks on the shoulders.

Earlier in the trial, an elder who witnessed the attack on Lafferty said her assailant was wearing a jacket with a camouflage pattern on it.

One of the Crown’s key witnesses was the first RCMP officer to arrive on the scene. Const. Michael Pudsey said he saw a man walking with the blood-stained stick used in the attack. Pudsey testified that he drove up to the man, who turned to him and looked straight at him before taking off.

Pudsey said he had no doubt it was the accused who is on trial for murder in Lafferty’s death. Pudsey also said he was certain the man was wearing a brown jacket.

During the two-week trial, the prosecutor called 33 witnesses and filed 63 exhibits. The jury has heard that Lafferty’s DNA was found on the accused’s belt and one of his shoes. The same expert testified that both Lafferty's and the accused’s DNA were found on the stick used in the attack.

Justice Louise Charbonneau gave the jury Tuesday off, as lawyers on both sides prepare to give their closing statements on Wednesday.

After that’s done, Charbonneau will instruct the jury on the law as it applies to the case and they will begin deliberations.