In a shocking turn of events, one of the people accused of a fatal 2018 stabbing appeared to have flashbacks on the stand, prompting him to plead guilty to manslaughter.
That brought an abrupt halt to the trial, which had been ongoing for 22 days.
Noah Vaten was accused of killing 23-year-old Esa Carriere in downtown Kelowna during Canada Day festivities in 2018.
It was Vaten’s fourth day on the stand.
Throughout the rest of the trial, he had always maintained that he didn’t remember anything around the time of the stabbing.
However, on Monday, Vaten told court that he started remembering more details over the weekend, including stabbing a knife in the grass to get rid of the blood on it.
He said he felt scared at the time.
Under cross-examination, Vaten also testified that he suddenly remembered calling his dad after being released from the drunk tank the next morning.
The turning point for the trial was when Vaten watched grainy surveillance video of the moments around Carriere’s death.
“My Lady, when I seen that video, I just got flashbacks of doing it,” he told the judge just before lunch.
Vaten was panting heavily after watching the video and said he needed to sit and breathe.
That prompted an early break for lunch.
When court resumed in the afternoon, Vaten pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
His lawyer noted that Vaten had undergone a lengthy cross-examination, and watching the video appeared to jar his memory.
Several times throughout the trial and during his interviews with police, court heard Vaten say that if he did know what happened that night, he would plead guilty if he was guilty.
He told officers during his original interview that Carriere’s family deserved justice.
Nathan Truant was also on trial for Carriere’s manslaughter, but most of the court proceedings focused around Vaten’s role in the stabbing.
Following Vaten’s guilty plea, Truant plead guilty to the lesser charge of assault.
Both men are out on bail and expected to be sentenced at a later date.