Calgary murder trial shows grisly cellphone video of victims dying moments

The Canadian Press ~ The News
Send to a friend

Send this article to a friend.

CALGARY - The final seconds of Sarah Rae's life were on display in court Thursday in a cellphone video that depicts her lying on a bed, the camera slowly focusing in on the spreading red stab wound on her chest.
"This was the worst content I've had to see in 15 years of policing," said Const. Shafik Punja, testifying at the second-degree murder trial of Travis Martel.
Martel, 36, is accused of killing Rae, his then girlfriend on Aug. 3, 2008.
The two-minute video from the Sony Ericsson flip phone is grainy.
With heavy metal music blaring in the background, Rae is seen lying limply on a bed, moaning, appearing on the edge of unconsciousness.
The video zooms in and out about 10 seconds into the recording. At the 33-second mark, the camera operator walks up to the victim and focuses on the wound.
A man's voice can be heard muttering from behind the camera.
"Good that I said I love you," says the voice, then adding, "This sucks.
"I'll be there soon with you, baby girl."
Members of Rae's family were warned by the Crown prosecutor and left the room when the video was about to be played.
Martel originally told police that he had gone for a walk on the night of his girlfriend's death and returned home to find her dead in their bed. He later insisted that the stabbing was an accident that was triggered when she attacked him with a knife.
Court also heard a recording of a phone conversation between Martel and his longtime friend, Jason Bobak. During their chat, Martel uses an expletive as he characterized what happened as an accident.
Then he blames himself.
"It was all my fault," Martel tells Bobak. "I was going to kill myself the night that happened because I just panicked. I tried to hide it."
Martel then describes to Bobak how he struggled with Rae: "We weren't fist fighting, but it was darned close. It turned into a wrestling match.
"The knife was beside the bed. She picked up first and then it ended up inside her."
Martel's lawyer, Balfour Der, questioned Bobak about the relationship between Martel and Rae.
Der asked Bobak if he had ever witnessed her being "verbally aggressive" to Martel.
"Have you ever seen her push his buttons to get him riled up?" Der asked.
Yes, said Bobak, adding "it went both ways".
Acting Staff-Sgt. Rick Tuza, the primary investigator in the case, said Martel was released from custody immediately after the murder because he had supplied an alibi that needed to be checked out.
Then Punja, a computer forensics examiner, alerted him to the video, which he found on a deleted file on Martel's cellphone and was able to play using special software.
That changed everything, said Tuza.
"It allowed me to focus on a primary suspect," he said.
He said he had a conversation with Martel outside of police custody and Martel confirmed to him the cellphone never left his possession the night that Rae died.

Geographic location: Calgary

  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5

Thanks for voting!

Top of page