Closing arguments complete in Ottawa's prom-night murder trial
Jury deliberations are about to begin in Ottawa’s infamous prom-night murder trial.
Crown Attorney, Michael Boyce, told the jury to “use common sense” when reaching a verdict on whether or not Devontay Hackett, 21, is guilty of second degree murder.
“These videos show Devontay Hackett murdered Brandon Volpi,” Boyce told the jury.
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Volpi, 18, was stabbed several times during a brawl outside Ottawa’s Les Suites hotel in the early morning hours of June 7, 2014. Hundreds of students were staying at the hotel after prom-night festivities.
Police allege a fight broke out over a cell-phone, resulting in Volpi being stabbed five times.
Devontay Hackett, 18 at the time of the murder, was arrested a month later in Toronto on a Canada-wide arrest warrant, and charged with second-degree murder.
The Crown’s case relies heavily on witness cellphone video that captured the brawl from two different angles. Boyce says when you slow down the video, frame by frame; you can clearly see Hackett using a knife in the fight.
“We ask that you believe your eyes,” Boyce told the jury, “there’s an object in Mr. Hackett’s right hand… the same hand he uses to deliver several blows.”
“It’s our position that when Mr. Hackett drove a knife straight into Mr. Volpi’s chest, 10 centimetres deep and into his heart… he meant to kill.”
Hackett’s defence team, headed up by Ottawa lawyer Joseph Addelman, says that same video actually proves his client’s innocence.
“This is reasonable doubt you can drive a truck through,” Addelman told the jury.
Addelman claims the video is blurry, and doesn’t clearly show a knife or any object for that matter, in Hackett’s hand. Addelman claims another young man in the fight was responsible for the stabbing. Police never located the murder weapon.
“Devontay was in the black-out drunk range,” Addelman speaks of a nervous Hackett, “He wakes up with no clear memory of what happened… word is spreading he’s involved. He panics and runs. Being accused of murder is terrifying for anyone.”
Addelman says Hackett has spent three years in jail waiting for justice, urging the jury to consider his future, “you cannot hang the label of murder around Devontay’s neck and leave him to rot. There can only be one verdict, a verdict of not guilty.”
With closing arguments complete, Justice Charles Hackland will now instruct the jury before deliberations begin.