“Breanna Menacho’s life will not be unheard,” said Melva Mantla. “We’ll keep standing until the very end, until she gets her justice.”
Mantla on Tuesday joined a group of women outside Yellowknife’s courthouse in support of Breanna Menacho, who was killed last week, and her family.
Mantla said her “hearts and prayers and love go out to the whole family” of Menacho, 22, who was found dead at a home in the area of Lanky Court.
“This is not right, what happened to her,” said Mantla, her voice cracking with emotion.
Friends, family, and the general public have gathered online using the hashtag #JusticeforBree to commemorate Menacho’s life and those of other missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.
Inside the courtroom, 27-year-old Devon Larabie – accused of killing Menacho – appeared via video link from the North Slave Correctional Complex.
“We have Mr Larabie before the court right now. This is a charge of murder contrary to section 235 of the Criminal Code,” said Chief Judge Robert Gorin.
Under existing Covid-19 precautions, the court was closed to the public. Only authorized media could attend or listen in by phone.
Wearing glasses and a sleeveless white tank top, Larabie kept his head cocked to one side as he listened to Crown prosecutor Blair MacPherson ask for a one-month adjournment to June 12 in Territorial Court.
“Mr Larabie is aware the Crown was going to ask for a long adjournment,” said duty counsel Charles Davison.
“During the interval, Legal Aid will be working to provide him with counsel. There are steps that need to be taken … to determine who is going to be able to assist him.”
Judge Gorin noted Larabie can request a bail hearing prior to that date.
Larabie first appeared before a justice of the peace the day following his May 6 arrest. Murder charges require bail applications be made in Supreme Court.
MacPherson asked that seven more potential witnesses be added to the existing list of three people Larabie is forbidden to contact. The judge agreed.
Larabie looked down at the floor as the names were read out.
“I haven’t had a chance to speak to Mr Larabie about that request. I will explain to him what’s going on and what his options are as a result,” said Davison.
Breanna Menacho’s mother, Lisa, posted this photo of her daughter to Facebook in her memory.
In a public post to Facebook last week, Breanna’s mother, Lisa, said an autopsy was being carried out in Edmonton.
“Breanna was such a giving person, she had the biggest heart and the most kindest soul,” her mother wrote.
Menacho was last seen on Tuesday, May 5, at around 10 am in the area of Butler Road, near Yellowknife’s uptown Walmart.
Police and search and rescue volunteers looked for any sign of Breanna on Wednesday after she was reported missing. A helicopter was brought in to help the search.
At the time of his arrest in connection with Menacho’s death, Larabie was separately on bail in connection with the armed robbery of a convenience store in March. Larabie had been released with conditions on March 20 (before any releases from custody related to Covid-19 had been introduced). The Crown did not oppose his release.
Two people robbed the Circle K gas station and convenience store – on Forrest Drive, a short walk from Lanky Court – at knifepoint in the early morning of March 17.
Larabie and Maiya Klengenberg, 18, were each charged with robbery and possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.