Jury begins reviewing Rodrigue evidence

Three years after a Yukon jury pronounced Karen Rodrigue guilty of the second-degree murder of Gerald Dawson, a new trial is once again combing over…

Three years after a Yukon jury pronounced Karen Rodrigue guilty of the second-degree murder of Gerald Dawson, a new trial is once again combing over old ground in the 2004 stabbing murder.

An appeal was granted in July 2007, on the grounds that the judge did not adequately instruct the jury on how to consider Rodrigue’s conduct after the stabbing, and how to interpret evidence that speaks to Dawson’s good character and Rodrigue’s bad character.

At Rodrigue’s first trial in 2005, she argued she had been raped by Dawson before she killed him. The pair had never had any sexual contact before the assault, said Rodrigue at the 2005 trial.

“I feel terrible, because Gerald was a friend of mine,” she told the court.

“But it’s not rightful what he did, and it’s not rightful what I did. I’m just really sorry. I ask for forgiveness everyday.”

After stabbing him in the back, Rodrigue said that she had panicked, hidden Dawson’s body under a sheet, taken Dawson’s rifle and some beers, and pinned a note on the front door saying, “back in two wks.”

A bad smell emanating from the house finally prompted friend James Wood to break into the house and discover Dawson’s body — 10 days after he had died.

In the 10-day period between Dawson’s murder and Rodrigue’s arrest, she and partner Dan McGinnis made use of Dawson’s two cars and pawned two of his chainsaws to fund an extended cocaine binge.

Dawson’s Petro Canada lock card was also used five times following his death.

McGinnis was later found with keys to Dawson’s house on his keychain.

In court statements, Rodrigue’s ex-husband recalled buying gas with the couple to be sold for drug money.

Dawson never raped Rodrigue, said Crown council David McWhinnie in his closing statements in the 2005 trial.

“She killed him because he wouldn’t give her what she wanted,” he said.

On Thursday, Brian Edmonds, a Whitehorse RCMP constable at the time of the murder, presented a detailed rundown of the contents of Dawson’s medicine cabinet. Included were a large number of prescription Tylenol 3 and Tylenol 4 pills that it is alleged Dawson sold illicitly for profit.

A Viagra package with a missing pill was also highlighted.

An autopsy determined Dawson had Viagra in his bloodstream at the time of his death.

Dawson befriended and lent money to a number of young female addicts in Whitehorse, two of whom testified on Thursday and confirmed that their relationship with Dawson had been purely platonic.

Sheila Scheper described having regular meetings with Dawson, who would often drive Scheper to the grocery store for groceries and diapers. Scheper had owed Dawson almost $1,000 at the time of his death, she estimated.

Scheper remembered coming to visit Dawson in the “week after father’s day” — Dawson was killed two days before father’s day — and seeing the note pinned on the door.

She also saw Rodrigue going through Dawson’s shed — something she didn’t see as strange because Rodrigue was usually at the house. As well, she began seeing Rodrigue driving around town in Dawson’s blue Chevy Lumina.

Another friend of Dawson testified on Thursday that she remembered visiting with Rodrigue and McGinnis, also in the week after Father’s Day. The couple had arrived in Dawson’s blue Chevy Lumina and began to smoke crack cocaine and drink alcoholic ciders.

When Rodrigue was asked where Dawson had gone, she replied that he had “gone south for a funeral.”

Rodrigue was also more “quiet than usual” noted the witness, and was nervously pacing the house.

The trial continues next week.

Contact Tristin Hopper at tristinh@yukon-news.com

Just Posted

Lorraine Kuhn is seen with one of the many volleyball teams she coached. (Photo submitted by Sport Yukon)
The Yukon Sports Hall of Fame inducts the late Lorraine Kuhn

Lorraine Kuhn became the newest member of the Yukon Sports Hall of Fame for her work in growing volleyball amongst other sports

File Photo
A Yukon judge approved dangerous offender status for a man guilty of a string of assaults in 2020.
Yukon judge sentences dangerous offender to indefinite prison term

Herman Peter Thorn, 51, was given the sentence for 2020 assaults, history of violence

Crystal Schick/ Yukon News A former residential school in the Kaska Dena community of Lower Post will be demolished on June 21. Crystal Schick/ Yukon News
Lower Post residential school demolition postponed

On June 21, the old residential school in Lower Post will be demolished and new ground on a multi-cultural centre will be broken

Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley announced 29 new COVID-19 cases on June 19 and community transmission among unvaccinated individuals. (Yukon News file)
Yukon logs record-high 29 new COVID-19 cases

F.H. Collins prom attendees and some Porter Creek Grade 9 students are instructed to self-isolate as community transmission sweeps through unvaccinated populations

Willow Brewster, a paramedic helping in the COVID-19 drive-thru testing centre, holds a swab used for the COVID-19 test moments before using it on Nov. 24. The Yukon government is reopening the drive-thru option on June 18. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Drive-up COVID-19 testing opening June 18 in Whitehorse

The drive-up testing will be open from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. everyday and increase testing capacity by 33 spots

Whitehorse City Hall (Yukon News file)
City news, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council at its June 14 meeting

Murray Arsenault sits in the drivers seat of his 1975 Bricklin SV1 in Whitehorse on June 16. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
Bringing the 1975 Bricklin north

Murray Arsenault remembers his dad’s Bricklin, while now driving his own

A presumptive COVID case was found at Seabridge Gold’s 3 Aces project. (file photo)
Presumptive COVID-19 case reported at mine in southeast Yukon

A rapid antigen rest found a presumptive COVID case on an incoming individual arriving at the 3Aces project

Jonathan Antoine/Cabin Radio
Flooding in Fort Simpson on May 8.
Fort Simpson asked for military help. Two people showed up.

FORT SIMPSON—Residents of a flooded Northwest Territories village expected a helping hand… Continue reading

A woman was rescued from the Pioneer Ridge Trail in Alaska on June 16. (Photo courtesy/AllTrails)
Alaska hiker chased off trail by bears flags down help

ANCHORAGE (AP)—An Alaska hiker who reported needing help following bear encounters on… Continue reading

Two participants cross the finish line at the City of Whitehorse Kids Triathlon on June 12 with Mayor Dan Curtis on hand to present medals. (Stephanie Waddell/Yukon News)
2021 Kids’ Triathlon draws 76 young athletes

Youth ages five to 14 swim, run and bike their way to finish line

NDP MP Mumilaaq Qaqqaq rises in the House of Commons, in Ottawa on May 13, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘Unacceptable’ that Inuk MP felt unsafe in House of Commons, Miller says

OTTAWA—It’s a “sad reflection” on Canada that an Inuk MP feels she’s… Continue reading

Lily Witten performs her Canadian Nationals beam routine on June 14. John Tonin/Yukon News
Three Yukon gymnasts break 20-year Nationals absence

Bianca Berko-Malvasio, Maude Molgat and Lily Witten competed at the Canadian Nationals – the first time in 20 years the Yukon’s been represented at the meet

Most Read