WARNING: This story includes details that may be disturbing.
A Yellowknife man has pleaded guilty to second degree murder for his role in the death of 22-year-old Breanna Menacho in May 2020.
Devon Larabie entered his plea in a Yellowknife courtroom on Tuesday, the day his trial was set to begin.
Larabie sat calmly in the courtroom as the prosecution went through an agreed statement of facts.
Menacho’s family and other attendees at court heard how Larabie, now in his early 30s, attacked Menacho with a hatchet at a gathering in his Yellowknife apartment on May 6, 2020.
Immediately after the attack, Larabie commanded the five bystanders not to leave, but three fled.
Upset, he later showed up at another acquaintance’s home, telling them he had “hurt Breanna.”
After that acquaintance refused to let him inside, Larabie checked himself into the psychiatric unit at the Stanton Territorial Hospital but left 12 hours later against advice.
Larabie hid Menacho’s body in a chest freezer, with plans to dispose of it and other incriminating evidence at a later date with two accomplices.
After Menacho’s family reported her missing, Yellowknife RCMP conducted a search of Larabie’s apartment on May 30, 2020, where they made the gruesome discovery.
Larabie’s motive for attacking Menacho remains unclear. According to the agreed statement of facts, he had been on an alcohol and crack cocaine binge in the weeks leading up to the incident.
Larabie’s newest lawyer, Michael Spratt, is a criminal defence lawyer based in Ottawa. Larabie had earlier fired three other lawyers.
In pleading guilty, Larabie faces an automatic life sentence. In a joint submission, the prosecution and defence suggested he serve 10 years before being eligible for parole.
Justice Michael Gates said it will likely take “several months” for the sentencing, after the defence requested a pre-sentencing report for Larabie. Gates also stressed the need for more time due to an upcoming winter break, and a desire to include victim impact statements.
The date for Larabie’s sentencing hearing will be decided on Dec. 18.
In December 2020, Lisa Brule and Jordan Nande were sentenced to 10 months in jail and two years probation for helping Larabie evade authorities.