Yukon man Alfred Chief Jr. has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2016 killing of 87-year-old Olson Wolftail in Watson Lake, admitting that he beat Wolftail to death but claiming he has no memory of doing so.
Chief was initially charged with first-degree murder in Wolftail’s death but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter on Feb. 9 during his preliminary hearing. His sentencing date was recently scheduled for June 28.
An agreed statement of facts filed to the Yukon Territorial Court paints a grisly picture of what happened to Wolftail.
According to the statement, Chief, who was under a bail condition to follow a curfew in Whitehorse, spent the evening of Dec. 22, 2016, at Wolftail’s home in Watson Lake. Wolftail shared the home with his son and his son’s partner, Minnie Charlie, who is Chief’s mother.
Chief viewed Wolftail as his grandfather, the statement says, and that night, Chief, his mother and Wolftail were drinking together and “all were highly intoxicated.”
Shortly before 12:20 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2016, Charlie went to her brother’s house across the street and told her nephew, who answered the door, that Chief was “beating on” Wolftail.
Charlie then called 911 and requested an ambulance, telling the dispatcher that Chief “took (Wolftail) and hurt him all over the place” and that Chief was “hurting (Wolftail) in the head.”
A police officer arrived at the house about 10 minutes later and found Wolftail “lying on his back, dead, in the storage room” and Chief “lying on a pull-out couch in the living room, either asleep or unconscious” covered in blood. Some bottles, including a blood-and-tissue-spattered 40-ounce bottle of Canadian Club whisky, were laying on the living room floor.
According to the statement, Chief had a “strong smell of liquor on his breath,” “bloodshot and glassy eyes” and was “combative” when police placed him under arrest. He “didn’t seem to understand why he was being arrested,” the statement says, and “intermittently laughed, cried and growled during his interactions with police.”
After being taken to the detachment, Chief was “put in a restraint chair because he was punching walls and banging his head on the floor.”
Blood and tissue spatter pattern analysis later established that Wolftail had been struck multiple times as he was on his back in the storage room, the statement says. A pathologist who examined Wolftail’s body found an extensive list of broken bones and severe cuts and bruises.
“(Wolftail) had lost a significant volume of blood to internal and external bleeding.… He died from blunt force trauma, with no contributing natural cases,” the statement says.
DNA analysis conducted on the blood on Chief’s clothes and the whisky bottle “contained DNA consistent with Wolftail’s.”
Chief “has no memory of the facts outlined,” the statement says, but “does not contest that he unlawfully caused the injuries that resulted in Wolftail’s death.”
A manslaughter conviction carries a maximum sentence of life in jail.
Contact Jackie Hong at email@example.com
This story has been corrected to better reflect how Wolftail was killed.