King murder verdict to come on July 6

Wifladt family members gather in front of the courthouse Friday following the murder trial of Denecho King, the alleged killer of their loved one John Wifladt.
l-r Rona Wifladt, Jack Wifladt, Alice Wifladt, Michelle Wifladt, Heather Poluk and Fred Sangris.
John McFadden/CKLB News photo

Accused murderer Denecho King will learn his fate on July 6th.

That is when Supreme Court Judge Andrew Mahar will deliver his verdict on whether the 25-year-old King is guilty of the second degree murder of John Wifladt and the attempted murder of Wifladt’s childhood friend Colin Digness on December 14th, 2014.

King’s four-week long trial wrapped up on Friday with closing arguments from Crown prosecutor Alex Godfrey and King’s lawyer Jay Bran.

Godfrey says we will likely never know exactly what happened inside Digness’s Sunridge Place apartment that night or why.

But he adds there is no doubt that King murdered one man and left the other for dead after a vicious attack with two swords.

Godfrey says no specific motive for the attack was ever established but the fact that King’s DNA is all over the handles of the swords points directly at King as the killer.

He argues the DNA is the strongest evidence but witness testimony furthermore puts King in the same crime scene apartment building, further testimony that he confessed to the crimes and what Godfrey calls an re-enactment of the murder captured on motel security video the night of the attack.

He says not only did King attack the two men but then later boasted about it twice at that downtown motel.

Godfrey says despite the circumstantial case the Crown has proven “beyond a reasonable doubt” that King is the killer.

Bran, on the other hand argues that Digness killed his friend when a drunken sword fight between the two got carried away.

He says King can not be placed in the crime scene unit and that his DNA could have easily been brought into that unit by any number of people including RCMP, paramedics, or the victims themselves.

Bran points out that Digness has no memory of the night because of his level of intoxication and that both victims were rowdy due to an earlier confrontation with another man at a party in Ndilo.

He says a sloppy job was done by RCMP when it came to protecting the crime scene and the two swords from DNA contamination.

Bran says the man who testified that King confessed the crime to him could not be trusted because of his level of intoxication that night,

He also says the video of King in the motel lobby was a re-enactment of an earlier crime by King who was convicted of attacking a man in Fort Providence with a machete a couple of years before the Wifladt homicide.

King did not take the witness stand in his own defence and Bran never offered any direct evidence that King was  not the killer nor an alibi.

Bran says King does not know the victims, had no reason to attack them and simply should be found not guilty because he did not do the crime.

If convicted, King faces a minimum of ten years in prison.

He became a household name in Yellowknife after he relatively easily escaped from the North Slave Correctional Centre in 2016.

Outside court following the trial, Wifladt’s eldest sister Heather Poluk said the prosecution did a good job during the trial, particularly Godfrey’s closing arguments.

Poluk, who lives in Calgary, attended the trial every day sitting between her parents, often consoling and hugging her mother while trying to hold back tears of her own.

Poluk, who has called King a “monster” and a “sociopath” fully expects to return for the verdict.

King’s mother and one of his brothers who have been at parts of the trial were not in the courtroom for the trial’s final day.




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