Distress for family members of slain Indigenous women as Skibicki pre-trial continues

Family members of Rebecca Contois, Morgan Harris and Marcedes Myran continue to be present as the pre-trial for alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki continues. The atmosphere shifted from Tuesday, with some family members leaving the courtoom in tears not to return. Joanne Roberts has the story.

Some family members left the courtroom in tears. Others shook their heads in disbelief.

That was the scene Wednesday at the third day of the pre-trial of alleged serial killer Jeremy Skibicki.

He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of First Nations women Morgan Harris, Marcedes Myran, Rebecca Contois and a fourth unidentified Indigenous woman known as Mashkode Bizhiki’ikwe.

A publication ban remains in place on the evidence that was presented at the Manitoba Law Courts building Wednesday.

The day began with small red pouches of tobacco being passed around between family members and loved ones. There were even moments for chats and small smiles.

But that changed as pre-trial continued and evidence was presented.

Cambria Harris, daughter of Morgan Harris, sat in the front row taking notes. Some from the Contois family sat in the back, with faces visibly distressed.

Some family members who left the courtroom in tears did not return.

Just before the first recess, evidence presented drew gasps from the families, with many holding their hands over their faces, shaking their heads in shock.

As it continued, Skibicki either kept his eyes forward or his head down, noticeably different from Tuesday when he seemed interested in the evidence.

At the call for the break, most of the eyes were on Skibicki, who avoided looking at anyone. At one point, someone stepped towards him and said, “God is not going to save you.”

When court continued, Skibicki was sporting glasses and this time watched the rest of the presentation.

More tears were shed by family members and more people left the room. At the midday break, the grandmother of Marcedes Myran, Donna Bartlett, was crying and being comforted by family.

Outside the courthouse, the sound of drums and singing brought comfort to family members.

Many representations of missing and murdered Indigenous women, girls, two-spirit and gender diverse were visible through clothing and jewelry worn by family members.

The trial continues Thursday.

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