Watch above: a verdict was reached in a historical murder case
SASKATOON – Enock Quewezance was acquitted of second degree-murder Tuesday at Court of Queen’s Bench in Saskatoon.
Leaving as a free man with his son by his side, his mother close behind, and a bounce in his step, Quewezance had little to say.
“I feel happy,” he said before quickly making his way down Spadina Crescent.
In August 1992, Ernest Taypotat was found fatally stabbed in the 400-block of Avenue T South with his hand clenched around 33 strands of hair. Another strand lay across his nose and several others were under his body.
The case went cold until 2011 when police re-tested the hair and found it belonged to Quewezance, who was then charged.
Closing arguments ended in March and Justice Dan Konkin has been reviewing the facts before making his ruling Tuesday.
“DNA simply shows he was there but it doesn’t show he committed the offence,” said Morris Bodnar, Quewezance’s defence lawyer.
According to the defence, Quewezance may have come across a stabbed Taypotat and, acting as a Good Samaritan, attempted to help.
Taypotat, intoxicated and severely wounded, may have defensively swiped at Quewezance and pulled out some of his hair.
It’s a theory the judge agreed was possible.
The Crown admitted the case was highly dependent on circumstantial evidence.
When asked if a guilty man walked away free today, Crown prosecutor Darren Howarth carefully worded his answer.
“Well, it’s not my opinion that matters, it’s just the judge’s opinion,” said Howarth.
Justice Konkin said the Crown proved, without a reasonable doubt, that Quewezance and Taypotat were in contact.
Where the case faltered, he said, was not in proving that Quewezance was there but rather, proving he was responsible for the fatal stab wounds.
When the DNA match was made in 2011, Quewezance was serving time for a separate incident.
Although he’s been on remand, Bodnar says only part of it was for the charge he was acquitted of Tuesday.
Originally, Reynold Assiniboine was charged with the murder; however it was stayed in 1993 when DNA evidence did not link him to the scene.