Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in Behchoko stabbing

Alecus Quitte, 22, admitted to fatally stabbing Archie Wedzin in April 2019

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A 22-year-old man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing death of Archie Wedzin in Behchoko last year.

Alecus Quitte, of Gameti, was originally charged with murder in the death of 59-year-old Wedzin.

He pleaded guilty to the lesser included offence of manslaughter in NWT Supreme Court in Yellowknife Monday.

The court heard Quitte and a woman were drinking and consuming drugs at Wedzin’s home when a fight broke out between Quitte and Wedzin.

Quitte used a knife to stab Wedzin twice in the neck, severing the man’s jugular, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court.

Quitte and the woman tried to stop the bleeding.

Quitte concealed the knife, and he and the woman disposed of the clothes they were wearing, the court heard.

Wedzin was found deceased in his home the following day, on April 8, 2019.

Both the knife and the pair’s clothes were never recovered by police, the court heard.

During their investigation, police noted a cushion had been flipped over, concealing blood that had pooled on the furniture.

Quitte and the woman gave a statement to police three days after Wedzin was found deceased. Both acknowledged they had been at Wedzin’s home, but said they only found out about his death the next day.

The woman was interviewed a second time by police on May 11 of last year. That’s when she told police Quitte had stabbed Wedzin.

She was never charged in connection with Wedzin’s death.

Quitte was again questioned by RCMP on May 14, 2019. He admitted to stabbing Wedzin, telling investigators he didn’t mean to kill him and that he was acting in self-defence.

By pleading guilty to manslaughter on Monday, Quitte no longer contends the fatal stabbing was in self-defence.

A sentencing hearing has been set for April 16 in Behchoko.

Quitte’s lawyer, Tracy Bock, said he expects the defence and prosecutors to submit a joint sentencing recommendation.

It’s unclear at this time what sentence prosecutors and the defence will be seeking.

Sentences for manslaughter can vary widely. While there is no mandatory minimum sentence, the maximum sentence is life in prison.

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