Calgary murder trial is focusing on video of victims final moments

The Canadian Press ~ The News
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CALGARY - The last 126 seconds of Sarah Rae's life were recorded on a cellphone that belongs to the man who is on trial accused of killing her.
Travis Martel, 36, is charged with second-degree murder in Calgary for the Aug. 3, 2008, stabbing death of his girlfriend.
Police Const. Shafik Punja, a computer forensics examiner, testified Thursday that he found a deleted video file on the cellphone and was able to recover and play it using special software.
"This was the worst content I've had to see in 15 years of policing," Punja said.
"I saw a female lying on the bed, struggling to breathe. There was bruising and appeared to be a chest wound in her chest area."
Punja demonstrated how the Sony Ericsson flip phone could be used as a video camera. He told the court that the video of Rae zoomed in and out about 10 seconds into the 2:06 minute-long recording. At the 33 second mark the camera operator walks up to the victim and focuses on the wound.
Martel originally told police that he had gone for a walk on the night of his girlfriend's death and returned home to find her dead in their bed. He later insisted that the stabbing was an accident which was triggered when she attacked him with a knife.
Court heard a recording of a telephone conversation between Martel and his longtime friend, Jason Bobak. During their chat Martel used an expletive as he characterized what happened as an accident. But then he blamed himself for what happened.
"It was all my fault," Martel told Bobak. "I was going to kill myself the night that happened because I just panicked. I tried to hide it."
Martel then described to Bobak how he struggled with Rae.
"We weren't fist fighting but it was darned close. It turned into a wrestling match," he explained.
"The knife was beside the bed. She picked up first and then it ended up inside her."
Martel's lawyer, Balfour Der, questioned Bobak about the relationship between his client and Rae.
Der asked Bobak if he had ever witnessed her being "verbally aggressive", raising her voice and arguing with Martel.
"Have you ever seen her push his buttons to get him riled up?," Der asked.
Bobak confirmed that Rae did sometimes fight with Martel, but added that "it went both ways".

Geographic location: Calgary

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