In the darkness of an abandoned house on the Tsulquate Reserve, friends of Cindy Scow cradled the mother of seven in their arms as she lay dying on the floor.
The 28-year-old had suffered blunt force trauma to the head and didn’t have long to live.
Const. Brian Bose was the first member of the Port Hardy RCMP to arrive and recalls seeing a group of people gathered in front of reserve home #155. It was shortly after 11 p.m. on Sept. 9, 2012, and something was terribly wrong.
On Wednesday, in the second-degree murder case against 20-year-old Dakota Johnny, Const. Bose testified he followed Lloyd Walkus into the house which did not have power. Using his flashlight, the officer entered the recreation room where a few people were huddled near the wall. There was blood splattered on the white walls and a piece of wooden doweling that was also bloodied. Const. Bose could also make out Leroy Charlie who was holding Scow in his arms. She was still alive, but barely breathing.
“There was blood on his hands…he was dazed and crying,” Const. Bose testified in B.C. Supreme Court in Campbell River.
The officer knew Scow because she had previous encounters with the law due to her drinking. Toxicology reports would later show Scow had a high-level of alcohol in her blood at time of death. But Const. Bose didn’t know that. She was unconscious and the officer knew she needed immediate help as ambulance sirens wailed in the distance.
He knelt beside her, cupped her head and could feel the blood soaking the back of her hair through his gloved hand. Scow wore only a T-shirt and blood was smeared across her abdomen; her lips and face were also swollen.
Const. Bose continued to support Scow’s head, fearing she may have a spinal injury, as paramedics arrived, stabilized her and transported her to Port Hardy Hospital where she later died.
Afterwards, officers were told of a possible suspect and went to Johnny’s home where they were met by the 19-year-old’s father at the front door. Dakota Johnny was seated nearby on the stairs and Const. Bose could clearly see blood on his shirt.
Others were also inside the home and the officer overheard someone tell Johnny to change because police were likely going to seize his clothing. That’s when Const. Bose entered to apprehend Johnny who willingly left the residence.
There was blood on his long-sleeved shirt, his jeans and also on the shoes which he put on to leave the house. Outside, he was arrested for aggravated assault, handcuffed and put into the back of the police truck.
Const. Bose drove a short distance away and then stopped in the parking lot of the Seventh Day Adventist Church where he began to re-read the Charter rights to Johnny.
“What do you think the years are going to be if you guys find out it was me? Probably like 28?” Johnny asked the officer.
Const. Bose didn’t reply, but Johnny continued, “But if you get a confession, how long am I going to be in for? I’m guessing a good 25 to 40 years, right?”
When Scow died in hospital, Johnny was formally charged with second degree murder. He has pleaded not guilty and has been free on bail. His trial, by judge along, began Monday in Campbell River and will continue next week. According to prosecutor David Fitzsimmons. The Crown alleges that Johnny and Scow had a sexual encounter and were seen earlier in the evening sleeping together outside the abandoned home. Testifying for the Crown are police, forensic investigators, a blood splatter expert from Edmonton, and 10 others from the Tsulquate Reserve who were expected to testify that Johnny told them that he had assaulted Scow. Johnny is represented by Doug Marion and Sarah Runyon. Marion told Justice Miriam Maisonville he’s not sure if Johnny will take the stand. The defence case is expected to begin mid-week after the Crown’s case wraps up.