Nikita Dedam sentenced to 9 years in prison for fatal stabbing
A woman faces nine years in prison for stabbing 34-year-old Christopher Dedam.
Nikita Marie Dedam, 36, of the Esgenoôpetitj First Nation, was originally due to stand trial on second-degree murder last year but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
On Monday, Judge Fred Ferguson sentenced her to 11 years less time served for killing Chris Dedam on August 25, 2020 in Esgenoôpetitj.
During Monday’s sentencing hearing, Judge Ferguson said it was difficult to understand Nikita Dedam’s circumstances — the abuse from her family, leaving home before she was 12, and her alcohol addiction since her 11th criminal record.
She had previously been convicted of five offenses, three of which involved stabbing two men to death at different times in her life.
“As blunt as a tool as the imposition of a long prison sentence is, given Ms Dedam’s criminal record it remains … the only tool left in the trial judge’s toolbox to try to protect the public from recurring behavior,” Ferguson said down the sentence before handing over.
When the Crown Prosecutor outlined her criminal record, Dedam spoke up and said those convictions involved domestic violence and she fears they will be twisted against her.
Judge Ferguson said the verdict would apply only to this case, but he had to consider her past.
“The fact that this is a stabbing … is used to get a full picture of who you are as a person,” he said.
Ferguson said a letter from Dedam to him explaining her remorse and all the mistakes she had made “resonated with him” and that he understood the difficulties faced by Indigenous offenders.
In her letter, Dedam wrote that a big mistake she made was changing her treatment plan to be closer to home and moving back to Esgenoôpetitj.
“The need to feel a connection with people I knew outweighed the likelihood that I would relapse, which is what happened when I retired,” she wrote.
“I am guilty that I took [Chris Dedam] away from his family and now his children will grow up without a father. I couldn’t imagine the pain his family is going through because of me. I have to live with that guilt for the rest of my life.”
A 7 minute argument
The Crown and defense have reached an agreement on the basic facts of the case after two disagreements and delays in sentencing.
On August 24-25, Chris Dedam took to social media to mock Nikita’s then-partner Bernard Robichaud and invite him to the fight.
Driving around over those two days, the couple had to pass by Chris’ house, where he gave them the middle finger.
Finally, around 4 a.m. on August 25, the couple drove by the house again and saw Chris give them the middle finger. Dedam asked her partner to stop the car or she would get out. Robichaud testified that Dedam was drunk and angry and wanted to fight Chris.
Dedam then went to Chris’ house. He was out on the porch trying to push her away. She then followed him in, testified Robichaud.
Inside, Chris ended up in the bathroom, Dedam was outside the bathroom, and another resident stood between them.
The Crown and Defense agree that Chris had a whistle and hit Nikita in the face with it. Nikita then somehow produced a gun and stabbed him once in the chest before leaving.
Video evidence and testimonies showed it all happened within seven minutes, the court heard.
The Crown and Defense agree that it is not known what the weapon was, where it came from, or where it ended up. Police recovered the pipe but not the sharp object Dedam used to stab Chris.
Defense attorney Alison Menard said Dedam could not have had the gun with her when she exited the car because she was wearing thin overalls with no pockets.
Chris screamed that he was stabbed, but Robichaud said he thought he was exaggerating. Police photos of the scene show very little blood, and the autopsy revealed he died after the gun ruptured his heart, causing the sac around his heart to fill with fluid.
A bystander called 911, Menard said, but was drunk and unable to give the dispatcher enough details. The police came out onto the street, saw nothing and drove on. Chris was not found until 10 a.m., about five hours after he was stabbed.
The defense and Crown agree that Chris had a significant amount of methamphetamine in his system. And that Dedam was also significantly impaired by alcohol and cocaine.
After Dedam left the house, she and her partner went to a bar and continued drinking. She told three people that she “beat up” and stabbed Chris. She changed her story when she saw police at his home — learned he had died — and denied knowing anything about it, Menard said.
Chris’ family was in court on Monday to witness the sentencing. Judge Fred Ferguson expressed his condolences.
“No case can bring Chris Dedam back to life,” he said. “I am sure he is the loved one who will be greatly missed by all of you, not to mention the six children he leaves behind.”