Mother felt unsafe after fight with boyfriend accused of killing her 3-year-old son, murder trial hears

WINNIPEG –

Warning: This story contains content that may be disturbing to some readers.

The mother of a Winnipeg child who was stabbed to death in his sleep nearly two years ago took the stand at her ex-boyfriend’s trial.

Daniel Jensen has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the November 2019 death of three-year-old Hunter Smith-Straight.

The jury heard the boy’s mom, Clarice Smith, had concerns about her safety following a fight she had with Jensen the day before Hunter was stabbed.

As the end of the October 2019 approached Smith, 34, told the jury she planned to move out of a second-floor suite she shared on Pritchard Ave. to go back to her home community of Manigotagan to live with family.

Smith testified she was going to relocate with Hunter and Jensen, whom she’d been dating for seven months. Jensen’s now accused of stabbing and killing Hunter in his sleep in the early morning hours of Oct. 30, 2019. It’s the Crown’s position Jensen did so because he got mad at Smith.

“He said, ‘I’ll get your son taken away from you,’” Smith testified. “I got mad and punched him three times.”

She told the jury the fight happened Oct. 29 while, instead of moving, the couple spent the day drinking with a group of friends and Smith’s family at a casino and some Winnipeg bars.

Smith told jurors she left Hunter in the care of a niece who lived in the main-floor suite at the same home on Pritchard. But at one point in the night Smith testified during a stop back at home she considered running away with Hunter without Jensen because she felt unsafe.

“I don’t know where we were going to go but I was going to take him somewhere,” Smith testified.

She told the jury she was convinced to continue partying and put Hunter back to bed. It was at the next bar the group stopped at where Smith testified Jensen got jealous about another man and the couple continued arguing.

“I told him that just me and Hunter were going to move to my mom’s,” Smith told the jury. “He got mad. He bit me on my cheek.”

“He followed me in the washroom and started punching me and kicking me.”

Smith told jurors Jensen left the bar on his own and that she left after him with the other members of their group.

The Crown alleges after Jensen left the bar, he walked to the home on Pritchard and stabbed Hunter.

Later in the night a call came in urging Smith to return home. When Smith got there, she told the jury police were already on scene and she wasn’t allowed inside. Smith was eventually taken to hospital to be with Hunter who died three days later.

Earlier in the day the jury heard from a detective in the Winnipeg Police Service’s Major Crimes Unit who testified he questioned Smith’s nephew, Austin Bruyere, as a witness.

The jury heard Bruyere had been living in the same home on Pritchard where Hunter was found stabbed and had blood on his clothes. The Crown previously told the jury they can expect to hear evidence the blood didn’t come from Hunter.

“He came across to me as sad,” Det. Sgt. Ward Gordon told the jury about Bruyere, who he said cooperated with police. “Throughout most of the conversation he had tears in his eyes.”

Gordon testified police later learned Bruyere, who initially gave officers a different last name, was wanted on a warrant for failing to comply with court conditions on an unrelated matter.

Gordon testified he told Bruyere police would deal with the warrant after taking his statement and that Bruyere would have to appear before a judge.

The jury heard Hunter was found with a knife in his neck and a screwdriver near his feet. He was stabbed six times in his head and neck.

Jensen is presumed innocent. His trial continues Wednesday morning. It’s been scheduled to take place over 20 days. 

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