First-degree murder trial underway after body found in burned out house in 2016
The murder trial for Gregory Wolfe and Colinda Hotomanie is underway in Regina.
The pair was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Ryan Sugar. His body was found in a burnt out home in the 1500 block of McTavish Street on Oct. 11, 2016, almost a week after the house burned on Oct. 5.
Two months after Sugar’s body was found, police charged three people in connection to his death.
Jury selection for the trial took place at the Conexus Arts Centre on Tuesday.
The Crown told court on Wednesday that it expects evidence will show Sugar was locked in a bathroom when the fire in the home started.
The Crown and defence agreed Sugar died from smoke inhalation. Crown prosecutor Adam Breker also told court he believes there’s evidence showing trauma to Sugar. He also said the jury will hear evidence explaining there was a fight leading to Sugar being locked in a bathroom — and the fire started outside of the bathroom with the intent to kill Sugar.
The Crown called Sugar’s grandmother Yvonne Bigknife to testify on Wednesday afternoon. She said she called police on Oct. 7 to report Sugar was missing. She told court Sugar left her home around 3 p.m. on Oct. 4 and never came home.
Firefighter Brayden Phillips also took the stand, saying crews took a defensive position to battle the blaze. Once the fire was out, Phillips said crews were searching the house, but it was hard to see and debris from a collapsed chimney blocked access to the back bedroom.
Phillips told court crews didn’t know that anyone was inside the home at the time of the fire.
A second firefighter, Neil Sundeen, testified that he tried to crawl under the debris but couldn’t get through. He said thermal imaging showed two stove elements were on inside the home when they arrived.
Const. Aaron Robertson testified that police found Sugar’s body in the bedroom firefighters couldn’t access on Oct. 5. He also said there were multiple cuts on Sugar’s body.
The trial is scheduled to last four weeks.
CTV Regina’s Colton Wiens is at the courthouse.