Jury trial underway into Okotoks murder

Court: Brother breaks down on stand while talking about murdered sister

By: Darlene Casten

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 04:08 pm

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The brother of a Filipino woman killed only weeks after arriving in Canada kept a picture of his sister in his jacket pocket, next to his heart, while testifying on the first day of the trial into her murder.

A jury trial began Monday into the murder of Marites Teresa Reyes Enrique, who was known as Teresa or Tess to her friends and died April 17 on route to the hospital after being found with severe stab wounds in her Cimarron apartment.

Her older brother Ronaldo Enrique, frequently broke down while talking about the discussions he had with his sister after she arrived in Canada at the end of March 2012.

He said he frequently talked to his sister from his home in California, sometimes as much as three times a day.

He told the six man and six woman jury that his sister was happy the first two weeks in Canada, but that changed dramatically in the third week, a week that would end with her dying of multiple stab wounds.

“The first week, the second week, she’s really happy,” Enrique said. “(She said) its beautiful in Canada. It is cold.”

However, after three weeks living in Okotoks Teresa wanted to return to the Philippines. Enrique said in during their daily text messaging and online chat conversations his sister said she felt trapped by Pelaez and was scared of him.

“She said she is having a very difficult time,” Enrique said. “She felt like she was in a prison. It was Carlos – she could not leave by herself… She was really afraid of Carlos, fearful of what he might do towards her.”

However, Teresa said Pelaez never hit her, Enrique said. He said he talked to Pelaez once and said the man only asked why his sister would want to return to the Philippines.

Enrique said his sister also wished to go home and take care of their sick mother.

On the day she died Teresa told her brother she was going to Walmart to print an airline ticket she had purchased to go back to the Philippines.

He never heard from his sister again.

Court heard EMS and police arrived at the couple’s apartment around 2 p.m. on April 17, 2012 to find both suffering from stab wounds.

Okotoks RCMP const. Melanie Skidmore testified she arrived at the scene that afternoon before EMS and saw Teresa Enrique rolling around on the floor, covered in blood. One of her pinkies had been severed and she was moaning and asking for help, saying she thought she was dying.

Carlos Pelaez was also laying on the floor next to her, with blood on him and seemed to be trying to comfort her, Skidmore said.

“They were pale, yellow in colour,” Skidmore said. “There was lots of blood.”

She said Pelaez also had blood on him, but she couldn’t see where it was coming from.

An off-duty Calgary police officer, who lived in a neighbouring apartment was already inside and had moved a kitchen knife with an eight inch blade away from the pair, she added.

When she and her partner arrived the scene was frenzied, she continued.

“It was pretty chaotic,” Skidmore recalled. “There a lot of blood. Her pinky finger was cut off and it was on the ground.”

Skidmore said when the ambulance left with the pair, she noticed Teresa’s finger had been left behind so she gave it to a firefighter to give to EMS personnel.

However, Teresa Enrique never made it to hospital, passing away in the ambulance.

Pelaez was air lifted to a Calgary hospital, where he was treated and subsequently arrested upon his release.

Enrique said it was hard facing Pelaez in court, a man he believes killed his only sister.

“He’s the one who killed my sister,” he said. “I want him to go to jail.

Enrique, who was almost 20 years older than his sister said they were very close.

“When she was little I took care of her,” he said. “I was the one who changed her diapers. I bathed her. I fed her. When she went to school I did take her to school. Whenever she had problems she would come to me for advice. She would tell me all her problems. This is how I loved her a lot.”

Teresa’s death has been hard on his parents, Enrique added.

“They want justice for my sister,” he said, adding he doesn’t think the penalty will be stiff enough. “It is only 25 years here. Its not life. Its not good enough.”

The trial is expected to take two to three weeks.


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