RCMP say King was only suspect in Wifladt homicide

Childhood friends, Collin Digness and murder victim John Wifladt. (Photo Courtesy of Wifladt family)

The RCMP’s lead investigator into the homicide of John Wifladt testified Wednesday that Denecho King was the only person police ever considered a suspect in the crime.

Sgt. Brandon Humbke was on the witness stand on day 18 of the murder and attempted murder trial for the 25-year-old King in Supreme Court in Yellowknife.

Humbke says evidence pointed towards King early on in the investigation into Wifladt’s death on Dec. 14, 2014.

He testified that King bounced back and forth between being a person of interest and the only suspect until May of 2015 when he was arrested and charged with the crimes while serving time at the North Slave Correctional Centre on another matter.

Wifladt, 39 at the time, was found mortally wounded with a stab wound to the back in the Sunridge Place apartment of his friend Colin Digness who was badly hurt in the same attack.

Humbke says the evidence pointing towards King being the killer includes King’s DNA being on the sword, believed to be the murder weapon, King being placed in the apartment building that night by a neighbour, another witness who says King confessed to the killing the night of the homicide, and video of King making swings with his hands as he talked to the night clerk at a downtown motel, again the night of the attack.

King’s lawyer Jay Bran successfully objected to Humbke’s characterization of King’s actions in the motel as a “re-enactment.”

The most dramatic moment of the day came when a crime scene photo was briefly displayed on two courtroom monitors that showed the legs of both Wifladt and Digness and blood on the floor.

At least three Wifladt family members immediately burst into sobs and tears.

One of them later told CKLB that the Crown prosecutors had apologized profusely admitting that it was an error to show the photo in open court.

Also Wednesday, the lead RCMP civilian DNA expert on the case said that it is possible that King’s DNA was transferred to the sword from someone other than King, but that it was highly unlikely because of the relatively large amount of King’s DNA found on the sword.

Bran’s contention is that King, already placed inside the building that night, could have left DNA in the hallways or floors and that it may have been then been tracked into the unit by paramedics, police or even the victims themselves.

Bran says crime scene photo evidence shows the swords were moved around at least once inside the apartment while the forensic investigation had already started with no explanation from Mounties as to why that happened.

It is expected that on Thursday Bran will grill Humbke, who is now the detachment commander in Hay River, on why police did not investigate the possibility that Wifladt and Digness attacked each other that night.




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