Accused killer confessed to police, lawyer challenges admissibility

'I killed Esa, I admit to it'

“I did it, I killed Esa, I did it, I admit to it. I'm sorry I did it.”

The man accused of fatally stabbing 23-year-old Esa Carriere in downtown Kelowna during the 2018 Canada Day celebrations confessed to the killing during his interrogation. But his lawyer is arguing the confession shouldn't be admissible.

The manslaughter trial for Noah Vaten and Nathan Truant began last month, more than two and half years after Carriere was attacked near the Queensway bus loop on the evening of July 1, 2018. He was stabbed in the chest during the group attack and later died in hospital.

Vaten was arrested in January 2019 at his mother's home in Winnipegosis, Manitoba. Vaten immediately told the arresting officers he did not remember the night Carriere died, and wasn't sure if he had stabbed him. But during an interrogation the next day, Vaten told Const. Tiffany Isenor that he had in fact killed Carriere.

But during Const. Isenor's cross-examination Wednesday, Vaten's lawyer Glenn Verdumen questioned her about what led up to the confession. Vaten had previously told the officers about his love for video games, and how playing online Xbox games was the only thing he wanted to do. During the interrogation, he told Const. Isenor that playing video games was “all I care about,” but that he would never be able to play them again if he went to jail. Const. Isenor explained that inmates are able to play video games.

“They play video games in jail Noah, and you know what, you know that is the right thing to do Noah,” Const. Isenor said.

Vaten then confessed.

During cross-examination, Verdumen said that this conversation about video games was the “turning point” in the interrogation. Const. Isenor testified Vaten had become “emotional” at this point, and Verdumen asked her if she had concerns about the reliability of his statement.

“The statement in itself – that 'yes I did it' – is something that obviously we're going to explore further and get corroborative details surrounding the events, which we continued to do through the course of the statements,” Const. Isenor said.

“He not only admitted to stabbing Esa once, but did a re-enactment, provided details that [another accused] and Nathan [Truant] chased [Esa], that he was behind them, that he recalled Esa getting kicked in the head, that he recalled running off after that; it was all information that he provided to me after he told me that he did it,” Const. Isenor testified.

Verdumen is challenging the admissibility of Vaten's confession on the grounds that it wasn't “voluntary,” while also claiming the confession was a breach of Vaten's Section 10 Charter rights, which guarantee an accused the right to a lawyer.

But in recordings from Vaten's arrest and interrogations, he repeatedly tells several different police officers he has no interest in speaking to a lawyer.

“Basically, I don't think it's needed,” Vaten told Sgt. Kevin Jeffrey while he was at the Dauphin, Manitoba RCMP detachment, the day after his arrest.

“I don't need a lawyer to go on and on about bullsh*t that I don't understand ... Either I did it or I didn't do it, that's your guys' job to figure out.

“I own up to my sh*t, that's what a man does, if they f*** up, they own up to their sh*t.”

Justice Alison Beames will determine if Vaten's statements to police, including his confession, are admissible evidence. The trial is scheduled to end this week, but it may run longer than first anticipated.

Meanwhile, two other people who were 17 at the time of Carriere's death, and can't be identified, were also charged with manslaughter. One has since pleaded guilty, while the second will face trial at the end of this month.

More Kelowna News