LETHBRIDGE – The jury needed a 40-minute break Friday morning (June 16), as one of its members broke into tears while watching a re-enactment video in the triple homicide trial of Derek Saretzky.
Saretzky is accused of first degree murder in the deaths of 69-year old Hanne Meketech, 27-year old Terry Blanchette and his two-year old daughter, Hailey Dunbar-Blanchette.
The video was shot on Sept. 15, 2015, after Saretzky told police that he had killed Terry and Hailey. Following that interview, he agreed to take officers to the site where he murdered Hailey and burned her body.
After arriving at the campsite in a wooded area north of Blairmore, Saretzky led Staff Sgt. Michael McCauley around the area, showing him and other officers what he had done.
“I bled her and drank her blood, most of it. I put it in a bottle,” Saretzky told McCauley, after saying that he first choked Hailey.
McCauley then asked Saretzky to recount how he dismembered the toddler and the act of cannibalism that followed.
“I cut her head first, and I think her arms, legs,” Saretzky stated, noting that he then cut her at the waist, removed her heart and ate about half of it. “I thought it would be really healthy for me to do, gain a little strength.”
He told McCauley that he then said a prayer for Hailey as he put her body into the fire he had created, along with some of his clothing and the knife and crowbar he had used to kill Terry.
When asked if he had been drinking that night or using drugs, Saretzky responded that there was no alcohol, but that he had taken Dexedrine and that he had once been addicted to it, adding, “I used to have a real bad problem with them.”
When asked by the Crown if he believed that Saretzky was possessed by a demon or being told what to do by the devil – something he told Saretzky he believed in their first conversation – McCauley said it was simply an interviewing technique to get a suspect to open up to him, stating that he saw it as a “face saving” move by Saretzky. He also pointed out that during the re-enactment, Saretzky completely stopped mentioning demons or the devil as he became more relaxed.
Following a break, the jury was then shown a video of another statement Saretzky made to McCauley, this time at the Calgary Remand Centre on March 2, 2016.
After starting with some small talk about hockey, international terrorism and U.S. politics – and even getting Saretzky to say he regretted what he had done to Terry and Hailey – McCauley asked Saretzky if he wanted to apologize to his grandparents for killing their friend, Hanne Meketech, to which he replied, “Yeah.”
“It was more spur of the moment,” Saretzky said, when asked about why he killed Hanne. “Somehow I thought it was ok.”
When questioned about how he had done it, Saretzky shared information that McCauley noted had been part of their holdback information in the case – information that only a select number of police officers and the killer would know.
“I kicked the door in and hit her in the head with a bat… I hit her in the head with a bat, stabbed her and left,” Saretzky told McCauley.
“I didn’t think anybody cared about her,” Saretzky said, as McCauley continued to probe for a motive.
McCauley then asked if Hanne had been a practice kill to prepare for the murders of Terry and Hailey, to which Saretzky replied, “Yeah, I guess so.”
He added, “I was on some kind of drug, I’m not sure what it was,” and that he had been “messed up” on alcohol at the time of Hanne’s murder, but that he couldn’t remember how much he had been drinking.
After telling the jury to try and take a couple of days to relax, Justice William Tilleman released the jury for the weekend, with the trial set to resume on Monday (June 19).
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