Convicted murderer Denecho King appealing conviction, sentence

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Denecho King, convicted of second-degree murder and aggravated assault in a 2014 sword attack, is appealing his conviction and life sentence, court records show.

In an application signed by King on Dec. 18 and received by the Court of Appeal of the Northwest Territories on Jan. 2, the convicted killer penned his plans to appeal both his conviction and sentence.

King, 26, received a life sentence in November with no chance of parole for 12 years.

He was handed a 10 year-sentence, to be served concurrently, for the aggravated assault conviction.

King was found guilty by Justice Andrew Mahar following a month-long trial that ended in July.

Mahar found King brutally killed John Wifladt – while almost mortally wounding Wifladt’s best friend Colin Digness at the same time – after entering a Sunridge Place Apartments unit in Yellowknife in the early hours of Dec. 14, 2014.

Before receiving a life sentence for second-degree murder, King indicated in court he wanted to get sentencing “over with,” so he could move on with the appeal process.

King is currently serving his sentence at the Edmonton Institution, a maximum security federal prison located in Alberta.

The reasons for the appeal are hand-written by King himself.

Ineffective counsel; calling new evidence; Andrew Mahar’s written decision (speculation); and circumstantial evidence.”

During King’s trial, Crown prosecutors focused on what they called an “overwhelming” amount of DNA evidence that tied King to two oriental-style swords used in on Wifladt and Digness. Prosecutors also relied on circumstantial evidence, mapping the movements of King has he bounced from party to party, apartment to apartment in the hours leading up the Sunridge Place Apartments attack.

A motive for the attack was never established, but the Crown argued a night of drinking led King to Sundridge Place Apartments, where he continued on his search for the next party.

However Denecho King found himself in Colin Digness’ apartment, I do not believe he went to there intending to hurt anyone,” reads Mahar’s written decision.

If anything, based on his behaviour at other times on the 13th and 14th (of December 2014), he was simply looking for people to party with. Whatever happened, happened very quickly.”

It’s unclear what arguments King will make with respect to speculation and all other grounds for appeal at this time.

King will be responsible for filing paperwork before March 27 – or the appeal could be tossed – as well as contacting legal aid if he requires legal assistance or representation.

Mahar’s decision to impose a parole ineligibility period of 12 years, five less than what the Crown called for, didn’t sit well with some family members back in November.

“It isn’t quite the closure we wanted,” John Wifladt’s father, Jack Wifladt told reporters.

Family of John Wifladt declined to comment on King’s decision to appeal his conviction and sentence.

King, who triggered a days-long manhunt after he escaped North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) in 2016, is currently serving his sentence at the Edmonton Institution, a maximum security federal prison located in Alberta.

 

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