Upset after an argument with her boyfriend Daniel Jensen, Clarice Smith roused her three-year-old son Hunter from sleep in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 2019, with a plan to leave their Pritchard Avenue home.
"I don’t know where we were going to go, but I was going to take him somewhere… because I didn’t feel safe around Dan," Smith testified Tuesday.
Convinced by a friend to let the boy sleep, Smith rejoined Jensen, her sister and her boyfriend, with whom she had been drinking for several hours, for a final stop at the Northern Hotel bar.
Asked if that was the last time she saw Hunter before he was found in his bed later that morning suffering six stab wounds to his head and neck, Smith quietly responded, "Yes," before going silent and crying.
Jensen, 34, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in Hunter Smith-Straight's death.
Smith said the group had been drinking at a couple of bars and McPhillips Station Casino before a friend drove them back to Pritchard Avenue so Smith could drop off a couple bottles of liquor.
During the ride back to the house, Smith and Jensen argued — Smith didn’t remember what about — and Jensen threatened to "get your son taken away from you," Smith testified.
Once at the Northern Hotel, the group was joined by two male acquaintances, one of whom made Jensen jealous, Smith said.
Jensen became angry and "was telling me, ‘You want him,’" Smith said.
Smith told court she had plans at the time to move out of the Pritchard Avenue house to live with her mother in her home community of Manigotagan.
"I told him that just me and Hunter were going to move to my mom’s… He got mad. He hit me on the cheek," she said.
Jensen followed Smith to the hotel bar washroom and started punching and kicking her, Smith said.
"Someone came in (and) he stopped and took off... out the back door," she said.
Smith said she was at a friend’s home sometime later when she received a phone call telling her she needed to go back home. When she arrived, police wouldn’t let her inside and she went back to her friend’s car. Police later took her to Health Sciences Centre to be with Hunter.
Hunter, who had suffered massive blood loss and brain damage, was removed from life-support three days later and died.
Prosecutors allege Jensen killed Hunter in a drive to hurt Smith "in the cruellest and most permanent way."
Jurors have been told they can expect to hear testimony from one of Hunter's cousins that Jensen returned to the house alone and went to an upstairs suite where Hunter was sleeping sometime before he was discovered with a knife in his neck at approximately 2:30 a.m.
Clothing police later seized from Jensen was found to contain blood matching Hunter’s DNA profile, prosecutors have told jurors.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.