The man accused of murdering Breanna Menacho has changed his mind about a jury trial, choosing instead to be tried by judge alone.
Devon Larabie is accused of killing 22-year-old Menacho on the night of May 5, 2020, at a gathering in his Lanky Court apartment in Yellowknife.
In October, the Crown said it wanted a jury trial on the matter to be held in NWT Supreme Court this summer or fall, citing concerns with delays in the case. At the time, the trial was expected to take up to seven weeks.
At a pre-trial conference on Wednesday, however – as Larabie looked on via video link from jail – lawyers involved in the case discussed dates for what could be a three-week long trial by judge alone.
Prosecutor Blair McPherson said some Crown witnesses may require “testimonial aids,” which can include appearing behind a screen, remotely via video, or with the support of a court worker. McPherson noted some RCMP officers have been transferred outside of Yellowknife and may need to testify via video link.
“I don’t think it will be something that will be particularly difficult to deal with,” he said.
“We’ve also had some very preliminary discussions with an expert — a potential expert [witness] — we have a person in mind.”
McPherson added he hopes defence lawyer Scott Cowan — the third lawyer to handle Larabie’s case — will have a toxicology report ready for the Crown to review, “in a timely manner.”
Last December, two people pleaded guilty to their role as accessories after the fact in Menacho’s murder. Jordan Nande and Lisa Brule were each sentenced to 10 months in jail.
Larabie is separately accused of carrying out a knifepoint robbery at Yellowknife’s Circle K gas station in March 2020. Charges of robbery and possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose will be heard at a trial scheduled for April 7 and 8.
Larabie is presumed innocent of all charges unless proven guilty in court.
Correction: January 26, 2022 – 16:15 MT. This article initially stated that Devon Larabie had pleaded not guilty to the murder charge. Larabie in fact has not yet issued a plea.