Cape Dorset man can’t remember killing Daisy Curley
Murder suspect testifies in his own defence at Nunavut court
A Cape Dorset man accused of first degree murder testified in his own defence Feb. 2 at the Nunavut Court of Justice where offered his version of the events that led to his killing of a 33-year-old Daisy Curley of Iqaluit in May 2009.
Jeffrey Salomonie, 48, admits to causing Curley’s death and has pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
But Crown lawyers have rejected that plea and are prosecuting Salomonie on a first degree murder charge in a trial before Justice Neil Sharkey, who is presiding without a jury.
Curley was beaten to death at home and died May 20, 2009 after a night of drinking with Salomonie at Iqaluit’s Storehouse Bar and Grill. Family members found her body May 24, 2009.
“Next time I remember is Daisy on the floor, I didn’t recognize her … because her face was swelling,” a soft-spoken Salomonie told the court.
“I washed my [bloody] footprints on the kitchen floor left there.”
Salomonie’s testimony adds more detail to the agreed statement of facts submitted by lawyers on the first day of his trial Feb. 1.
But his testimony was limited as to what happened in the moments before the attack.
“That’s the last thing I remember,” Salomonie said of his arrival at Curley’s residence and drinking a glass of vodka.
In the agreed statement of facts, Crown and defence lawyers agree that Salomonie beat Curley to death with his fists and a hockey stick in the early morning hours of May 20, 2009.
Defense lawyer James Morton asked Salomonie to tell the court how much he drank during the evening of May 19, 2009.
Salomonie said by the time he had left the Storehouse with Daisy Curley, he had consumed about 12 beers, as well as “two or three [vodka] screwdrivers.”
He also told the court he had gotten drunk at the Storehouse on the previous day, May 18, when he arrived in Iqaluit from Cape Dorset to see doctors about a stomach ulcer.
“When you left the Storehouse, were you drunk at that time?” Morton asked.
“Yes. I was wobbling,” said Salomonie, who told the court on a scale of one to 10 —10 being “blackout” drunk— he was “about a nine” when he left the bar with Curley.
Salomonie then took Curley up to his hotel room at the Frobisher Inn where the two continued to drink vodka from a bottle he had acquired the previous day.
“You wanted to have sex with Daisy?” Morton asked the accused.
“Yes. I asked her to stay over three times, but she kept saying she was [staying] alone [at her house],” Salomonie said.
The accused was unable to recall exactly when the pair took a taxi to Curley’s residence, but the two continued to drink Salomonie’s vodka after they arrived.
“I remember we had a glass [of vodka],” Salomonie said, who now described his state of drunkenness “at about 10.”
Sometime after Curley was left beaten, lifeless and half-naked on her living room floor, Salomonie told the court he walked back to his hotel room in the early morning light.
DNA evidence found by forensic investigators on Curley’s body indicates the pair had sexual intercourse — but it’s unclear when that took place.
“[I] was still drunk walking back to hotel, about a nine. I was wobbling,” Salomonie said before finishing his testimony.
At several points, court proceedings paused while a worker readjusted microphones because of Salomonie’s barely audible answers.
Justice Sharkey adjourned court around noon.
Crown attorneys will cross-examine Salomonie when the trial resumes Feb. 3.