The often-emotional murder trial of Robyn Laura Ermine came to a close this afternoon as a Prince Albert jury heard final arguments from both sides.
Ermine, 30, is facing a charge of second-degree murder after the 2015 stabbing death of her 27-year-old fiancée Evan Tylan Bear at the couple's shared home on Muskoday First Nation. Although neither side disputed that Ermine struck the fatal blow, her lawyer Adam Masiowski said the case was clear-cut self-defence while Crown prosecutor Jeff Lubyk argued Ermine was a willing participant in a domestic fight and used unreasonable force.
Masiowski said Ermine was being choked by Bear when she reached behind her and, thinking she had grabbed a knife sharpening rod, struck out in defence with a kitchen knife resulting in the fatal cut to Bear’s neck.
“If you accept she was choked and couldn’t breathe, nearly any level of force would be justified,” he said.
“One could argue that she didn’t use enough force,” Masiowski added, noting the much-larger Bear was able to continue attacking Ermine and threw her to the floor even after suffering a mortal wound.
Lubyk argued Ermine could have left the house or even the room to avoid the fight, but rather decided to escalate the situation by grabbing a weapon.
“This was a consent fight that Ms. Ermine escalated,” Lubyk said. “This is not a case of proper self-defence.”
Lubyk also drew the jury’s attention to Ermine’s conduct after the incident. Crown said Ermine cleaned part of the blood-stained kitchen floor with a mop while her step-sister was struggling to perform CPR on Bear, Lubyk noted, and left the scene before paramedics or police arrived.
The trial, which opened last Monday, was visibly difficult for Bear’s family as the court heard 9-1-1 recordings of Bear’s death and viewed videotape of the crime scene showing his body in gruesome detail. Family members rushed out of the courtroom several times during the trial to avoid the disturbing sounds and images, and Ermine was seen wiping away tears at times.
After receiving their final instructions from Justice Brian Scherman tomorrow morning, May 17, the jury will retire to decide Ermine’s fate.
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