Aylmer man convicted for a second time
Bulletin d’Aylmer Staff
Roughly a decade after the tragic evening on Framboisiers Street in Aylmer, Khalid Gakmakge was, for the second time, found guilty by a jury of 11 of manslaughter. The verdict fell in early June after the tragedy was revisited in court for about 8 weeks.
Gakmakge was initially sentenced by jury to life in prison with no chance of parole until 2025 back in March 2011 for having stabbed his 32-year-old estranged wife Lucia Medeiros. The murder, which shocked the Jardins Lavigne community, occurred on the night of December 12, 2008.
However, in February 2015, the Quebec Court of Appeal (CA) declared a mistrial because the defendant was, in short, denied a full and complete defence, “which is his most fundamental Constitutional right,” said the ruling. The CA ordered a new second degree murder trial.
Before the second trial took place, Me Christian Deslauriers filed an unreasonable delay motion following the Supreme Court’s Jordan decision which saw new delays announced. The ceiling on reasonable delay was set at 18 months for “cases going to trial in the provincial court, and at 30 months for cases going to trial in the superior court (or cases going to trial in the provincial court after a preliminary inquiry).”
Deslauriers argued Gakmakge had waited too long for a new trial and should be freed. The Crown argued otherwise and refused to free the accused awaiting a re-trial.
The reason why the CA had ordered a new trial is because of the testimony of an expert witness. During the trial, the blood-splatter and DNA expert provided a different scenario than what was anticipated by the defense.
“At the preliminary inquiry, Ms Prévost [expert witness in blood splattering] said she was unable to express an opinion on sequence for the reasons she gave, and at trial, she found herself able to give an opinion on that issue without any new facts that were unavailable when she expressed her inability,” stated the CA’s ruling.
Her testimony was important for the Crown because the accused said he killed Mrs Medeiros in self-defence, after she stabbed him in bed. The Crown argued Gakmakge stabbed Medeiros first with a large kitchen knife and then attempted to commit suicide. Both were found by police in a pool of blood, Medeiros in the kitchen and Gakmakge in the bedroom.
During the initial trial, the expert witness’s new scenario supported the Crown’s theory. The defence complained saying they had been unable to counter her unexpected testimony, but the trial judge overruled the objection. The CA finally ruled that Gakmakge’s fundamental Constitutional right was not respected. While Gakmakge had won that legal battle he ultimately lost the most recent one.