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Dehcho
Justice

Aftermath of homicide will impact Fort Liard for years, says lawyer

Last modified: February 24, 2022 at 11:16am


Warning: This report contains details of a homicide, as heard in court, that readers may find disturbing.

Selena Lomen was sentenced for manslaughter in December, after plunging a large kitchen knife into her  partner’s chest in Fort Liard in 2018, and will be out of jail later this year under an extremely strict probation order.

Lomen was tried in NWT Supreme Court in Yellowknife for the second-degree murder of Danny Klondike, 34. Justice Andrew Mahar convicted her of the “the lesser and included offence” of manslaughter in April.

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Mahar decided to sentence Lomen in the Dehcho community late last year, so residents could attend the hearing and start to heal. 

In a victim-impact statement, Klondike’s sister Margaret Klondike told the court: ”To this day we still live in the nightmare that you [Lomen] created for us. He [Danny] was always there for me when I need[ed] someone to talk to,” as reported by CBC.

David Duntra, the victim’s brother, wrote about Klondike’s passion for art and his love for his son.

Mahar sentenced Lomen to five years and eight months. After figuring in her lengthy pre-trial custody credit, she had one year left to serve. The judge also imposed a very strict three-year probation order on the 24-year-old woman.

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Questions linger as to how the community of Fort Liard – home to roughly 558 people – will recover from the stabbing that left Klondike mortally wounded on his couch and the couple’s toddler found uninjured, but covered in blood.

“This has impacted all of Fort Liard and it is a terrible tragedy for everyone — for Danny’s family, for Selena’s family, and especially for their son,” Lomen’s lawyer, Peter Harte, told Cabin Radio this week. “There is no explanation for what happened.”

The veteran northern lawyer said although it’s hoped the legal process will provide some closure, “people lose loved ones in these situations and court is no substitute for the years of counselling that it takes to get over these kinds of horrible losses.”

“It ends up being an emotional catastrophe, one that is too well known in northern communities.”

In the NWT, many well-behaved prisoners can be released after serving two-thirds of their sentence. In Lomen’s case, that means she could be released in late summer or early fall. 

She will be on extremely strict supervised probation for three years whenever she is released, with a curfew in effect for the first 12 months. 

Court documents show she will be required to:

  • Remain within the NWT unless she has  written permission from a probation officer to leave.
  • For the first 12 months of the probation order, abide by a curfew between 11pm and 6 am daily except with the prior written permission of a probation officer, or except in “the actual presence of a responsible adult” approved in advance by the officer.
  • Not possess or consume alcohol, controlled or illegal drugs. Not go to a liquor store, off sales, bar, pub, tavern, lounge or nightclub. Not be at a social gathering in a house if booze is served.
  • Participate in educational or life skills programming as directed, along with counselling, specifically for substance abuse, alcohol abuse and anger management.
  • Perform 100 hours of community service and try and find a job.

Lomen is also prohibited from contacting a list of 33 members of the Klondike family unless she is invited or permitted to do so. Any contact shall be only for the purpose of making custody or access arrangements regarding her son, the judge said. 

Klondike was killed in the early hours of October 28, 2018. That night, there had been a Halloween party and fireworks display in the community, where witnesses said Lomen and Klondike were among many people drinking alcohol and smoking cannabis.

The couple had been having difficulties — a “strained releationship,” Justice Mahar said —because of Klondike’s drinking. 

The court heard that during the party, Lomen was extremely angry as she watched Klondike over-indulging and being “the life of the party.”

Lomen wasn’t fully included in Klondike’s evening, leaving her feeling “alienated,” Crown prosecutor Duane Praught said, and concerned over how he would treat her when they went home.

Questioned by RCMP after she turning herself in, Lomen sobbed and confessed to the attack against her partner. “I killed him,” she was heard saying on tape.

However, she said she couldn’t remember all of the details.

“I am left with a reasonable doubt as to whether or not she intended to drive a knife into Danny Klondike’s chest,” Justice Mahar said in convicting Lomen of manslaughter. “It was an awful crime. Her small child was left covered in blood. She brought a knife into an argument.”

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