Accused claims to not remember what happened on night he allegedly killed Esa Carriere

Accused killer: 'Did I do it?'

The man accused of fatally stabbing a 23-year-old man in downtown Kelowna during the 2018 Canada Day celebrations claims to have blacked out from using cocaine on that night. But when he was arrested close to seven months after the incident, he said he was willing to go to jail if he was in fact responsible.

The eighth day of the Noah Vaten and Nathan Truant manslaughter trial began Thursday morning with a “voir dire” – or a trial within a trial – to determine the admissibility of the statements Vaten gave to police following his January 2019 arrest.

Vaten's lawyer Glenn Verdumen is challenging the evidence based on the“voluntariness” of the statements and on Section 10 of the Canadian Charter, which guarantees an accused access to a lawyer, and to be informed of that right. At the conclusion of the voir dire, Judge Alison Beames will determine if Vaten's statements were obtained legally, and whether or not she will consider them in the Crown's case against Vaten and Truant.

Almost seven months after Vaten allegedly stabbed Esa Carriere near Kelowna's Queensway bus loop during the 2018 Canada Day firework celebrations, he was arrested at his mother's house in Winnipegosis, Manitoba on Jan. 25, 2019. One of the arresting officers testified in Kelowna court Thursday, while recorded audio from their interactions were played.

“He did make a comment in fact that he didn't recall what had happened [on the night of the killing] and he was high on cocaine and had blacked out.” Cpl. Ryan Bulford testified.

On the recording made during the arrest, Vaten can be heard asking “Did I do it?” and “I will be cooperative.” Vaten's mother says: “I love you, it is what it is, it is what it is.”

In the recording, Vaten, who was 20 years old at the time, is taken to a police car and Cpl. Bulford reads him his rights. During this interaction, and later at the Winnipegosis police detachment, Vaten repeatedly says he doesn't want a lawyer.

“I'm not going to call a lawyer. I don't want Legal Aid,” Vaten says while in the police car. “See basically it comes down to this, I don't know whether I did it or not, you guys are police officers, you guys are doing your job. Either you guys are going to prove I did it and I'm going to willingly plead guilty and go to jail for it, or you guys are going to find out I didn't do it and everything is going to be OK.”

Vaten continues to say that the matter is “pretty black or white” in his mind,

“I've said it 100 times to myself, like if you guys find out I did it, and you guys put out an arrest warrant for me, I will turn myself in,” Vaten said.

Vaten has since pleaded not guilty to the manslaughter charge.

In the recording, Vaten confirms with the officers several times that he understands he's not required to answer any of their questions. He discloses that he smoked cannabis “about five to 10 minutes” before the police arrived, but he said it does “nothing” to him.

“I've been stoned since I was 11 years old, literally every second since I was 11 years old, so I don't even know what being sober is like,” Vaten said.

“I'm pretty scared that I'm going to go to jail, but at the same time, like I said, if you guys found out or do find out that I did it, then I deserve to.”

Vaten also told the officers he had quit drinking alcohol and using drugs, except for cannabis. He said he had only ever spent one night in a jail cell in his life – when he was put in the drunk tank in Kelowna, after allegedly killing Carriere. Vaten was not a suspect in the killing at that time.

When Vaten was taken to the police detachment in Winnipegosis on the January afternoon, Cpl. Bulford offered him food. He asked Vaten how often he eats at home.

“I don't know, I don't really. Like I do, but like, I don't know, I just, I don't know, I don't know, I just eat like every couple days,” Vaten said. He added that he had just recently stayed up for two days before sleeping a full 24 hours.

Cpl. Bulford says he's going to “take care” of him and make sure he's fed. Vaten responds: “thank you.”

Vaten was later taken to a larger police detachment in Dauphin, Manitoba, before Cpl. Bulford, Vaten and another officer boarded a flight from Winnipeg to Kelowna on the morning of Jan. 28. He remained in custody until he was released on bail this past August.

Vaten's co-accused Nathan Truant, along with two others who were 17 at the time of Carriere's death and can't be named, were all arrested on Jan. 25, 2019.

Vaten and Truant's trial is expected to continue through Friday and into next week.

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