By Brendan Miller
Southern Alberta Newspapers
Editor’s note: Due to space constraints, the Taber Times cannot include all coverage of the Belyea trial. For more daily coverage from last week, please visit the website.
A forensic medical examiner told the court on Jan. 16 Alfred was fatally stabbed seven times during the sixth day of a second-degree murder trial for Deborah Belyea, who stands accused in the homicide of her husband.
The prosecution called Dr. Andreea Nistor to the stand to testify as the Crown rested its evidence in the second-degree murder trial.
Nistor performed the autopsy of Alfred and authored a nine-page final report she referenced during court.
She believes Alfred’s cause of death was from a stab wound to the chest or neck with serious blood loss being a contributing factor.
Nistor told the court she recorded four stab wounds on Alfred’s neck, one puncturing his jugular vein, as well as three stab wounds in his chest causing significant blood loss. Nistor believes any one of the three stab wounds to his chest or one in his neck was fatal.
However, she can’t pinpoint exactly which stab wound caused his death.
The autopsy report also shows Alfred’s right and left arms were removed by a sharp object and were believed to have been removed after he was deceased.
“It looks like a blade, it looks like they have been cut off.” Nistor told the court.
Nistor says a tied black garbage bag with leaking red fluids and organic matter found at the crime scene in Piapot, was delivered to the Saskatchewan Coroners Service along with the body. Nistor told the court she discovered a sharp blade in the bag while removing its contents.
Nistor also noted that Alfred’s head and neck had small white pieces of what she described as paper towels or rags, and similar clumps were discovered on his shoulder where the arms had been removed.
Evidence in the form of a photo book of the autopsy was presented to Justice Miller and the accused during the testimony. Belyea was visibly crying and wiping tears from her face while looking through the photos.
The court learned in Saskatchewan any autopsy criminal in nature requires a second opinion about the cause of death and requires a peer review of the final report.
During a cross examination Nistor told the defence the force needed to stab through human flesh, fat tissues, muscle and ligaments is similar to the amount of force used to penetrate a watermelon if using a sharp blade.
It was found the body lost a significant amount of blood before it arrived for autopsy at the Saskatchewan Coroners Service and Alfred’s chest had collapsed.
The body arrived as it was found at the crime scene in Piapot in a large grey municipal garbage bin wrapped in a blue blanket with a white rope loosely wrapped around.
Deborah was charged in October 2021 after RCMP officers found her husband’s body at a rural location south of Piapot six days after they issued a missing person report for Alfred.
At the time of his disappearance, Alfred served as councillor for the Suffield and Jenner area.
Belyea claims the last time she saw her husband was on the Saturday morning during Thanksgiving weekend 2021 when a person named Dan or Don came to pick him up to inspect a gravel road.
However, Cypress County and RCMP have confirmed in court that no one by the name of Dan or Don put in a request to have a gravel road inspected.
Belyea reported Alfred missing the following Monday evening after speaking with her eldest daughter Trina over the phone.
RCMP Sgt. Candice Hoysradt arrested Belyea in the afternoon of Oct. 15, 2021.
RCMP obtained a search warrant for Belyea’s home on Oct. 16, 2021 to examine and photograph the scene for evidence.
During the investigation RCMP discovered and seized a small piece of plastic found wedged between the front door and cement pad, fabric and rope they were able to tie to the crime scene in Piapot.
Further forensic examinations have also resulted in the discovery of large deposits of what police suspect to be blood in Belyea’s home as well as the vehicle she drove.
The trial resumed Jan. 17 at 10 a.m. in Courtroom No. 4 at the Court of King’s Bench.