Many not pleased with cross-examination in trial of slain Indigenous women

It’s clear family is not going anywhere as they line the rows in the courtroom on the fourth day of pre-trial for the murders of Marcedes Myran, Morgan Harris, Rebecca Contois, and a fourth unidentified victim the community calls Buffalo Woman.

The accused, Jeremy Skibicki, is charged with four counts of first-degree murder, for which he has pleaded not guilty.

The morning began quietly. Outside the courtroom, photos of Myran and Contois have been placed on a bench. Myran’s grandmother, Donna Bartlett, was in a small and quiet prayer circle. Inside, the smell of sage hung in the air for a few minutes as court came back into session.

It is a significant day for the Myran family. Today, Marcedes would have been 28-years-old.

There is still a publication ban and family members declined to speak but I can tell you many were not pleased this afternoon, drawing anger and looks of disbelief during the cross-examination.

Skibicki, still sporting a long greying beard, opted to remove his usual grey sweater in favour of a grey t-shirt as he sat in his chair surrounded by two sheriffs. He again avoided eye contact and mostly kept his eyes forward.

The victim’s families seem to have settled in for the long pre-trial, taking the same chairs with Cambria Harris, daughter of Morgan Harris, and Bartlett in the front rows and the Contois family in the top row.

At the end of the day, Bartlett passed out small cupcakes in honour of her granddaughter, and people sang happy birthday for Myran. It was a powerful show of unity in the aftermath of Wednesday’s difficult day.

Day 5 of the pre-trial continues Friday.

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