A Gameti man has been found guilty of second degree murder in the death of Elvis Lafferty in Yellowknife in September of 2015.
Kevin Mantla, 38, is facing life in prison with no parole eligibility for a minimum of ten years.
He was also convicted of attempted murder in a verdict handed down by Judge Louise Charbonneau in Supreme Court on Thursday.
Charbonneau did not convict Mantla of the original charge of first degree murder.
In her decision, Charbonneau said there simply was not enough evidence to show Mantla pre-planned the murder, the main criteria for a first degree murder conviction.
The judge ruled that there was no question, through eyewitness accounts and circumstantial evidence, that Mantla stabbed the 37-year-old Lafferty to death and tried to kill his former common-law partner by stabbing her as well.
CKLB has chosen not to name her for her protection.
She suffered serious wounds and had to be medevaced to Edmonton for surgery.
Charbonneau noted that her hand was nearly severed in the attack.
During the trial held in January and February, court heard from two of the woman’s children who were in the Lanky Court apartment at the time of the attack.
They both identified Mantla as the attacker as well.
Their names of protected by a publication ban due to their age – 11 and nine years old at the time of the murder.
Charbonneau described as horrific and traumatic the events inside the apartment that night.
She noted that two shoes left in the apartment had both Lafferty’s and the woman’s blood on them as well as Mantla’s DNA.
It is believed Mantla left the murder scene wearing Lafferty’s shoes which he later discarded outside the Yellowknife RCMP detachment before he asked an officer inside if he could be lodged in RCMP cells.
Charbonneau also acknowledged that Mantla’s motive was jealousy and rage that his former partner was now seeing Lafferty.
She said Mantla had been drinking and smoking crack prior to the attack but not to the level where he would not know what he was doing.
However she ruled that threats made against the woman over the phone the day of the attack did not constitute pre-planning of the murder.
Charbonneau also ruled that the fact Mantla came to the apartment unarmed was not relevant because he was familiar with the kitchen and knew where a knife could be found.
Several of Lafferty’s family members burst into tears immediately after the verdict was read.
Outside court after the verdict, Lafferty’s father Archie Lafferty said he was not overly upset that Mantla was only guilty of second degree murder.
“The creator will decide his fate,” Lafferty said.
The crown prosecutor and the defence lawyers are expected in court Monday to try to set a date for sentencing.
The Crown has not indicated the length of the sentence it will be seeking.
Mantla, who showed little reaction after the verdict, remains in custody at the North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) where he has been since being arrested, just hours after the murder.
It is expected that once he is sentenced, Mantla will serve his time at a southern penitentiary.