NEW WESTMINSTER â€” The boyfriend of a Surrey woman accused of stabbing her best female friend 41 times in his house said the place looked like a hurricane had hit it.
Jessica Ashley Hanley, 25, is being tried for second-degree murder in the death of 23-year-old Burnaby resident Tashina Rae Sutherland, killed inside a small rancher at 10593 138th St. in Whalley on April 26, 2012.
Hanleyâ€™s boyfriend testified Monday, in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster. The witness asked not to be identified out of concern for his personal safety, a matter on which he didnâ€™t elaborate.
The 38-year-old Whalley resident, a construction worker originally from Quebec, said heâ€™d met Hanley four months before the â€œincidentâ€ and that theyâ€™d been living together for three months.
He said he knew Sutherland for about as long as heâ€™d known Hanley and sheâ€™d visit the couple at least twice a week. â€œThey were best friends, like sisters,â€ he said.
He told the court that he â€œneverâ€ saw any conflict between Hanley, who he described as â€œhappy,â€ and Sutherland, who was â€œalways happy, bubbly. A beautiful personality.â€ The women spent a lot of time drinking, singing, shopping and taking photos of each other, he said.
The night before Sutherland was killed, he said, the three of them were drinking coolers and beers and heâ€™d bought a half-gram of cocaine and gave it to Sutherland. He told the court he didnâ€™t use any himself. â€œI did a lot of it in my youth,â€ he said. â€œIâ€™m nine years clean.â€
â€œWe shared quite a few drinksâ€¦everybody in a good mood.â€
The witness said he went to bed at about 11 p.m. because he had to get up for work at 6 a.m., while the women carried on.
The next day, he said, he had a rough day at work. â€œIt was a tough one because they slashed my wages,â€ he explained.
He testified he received a barrage of text messages from Hanley while he was at work, which he didnâ€™t pay much attention to.
â€œI donâ€™t like to be bothered while Iâ€™m at work unless itâ€™s an emergency,â€ he explained. The court reviewed some of Hanleyâ€™s text messages, in which she told him to get his divorce â€œdealt with asap,â€ asked him if heâ€™s hungry, and told him she was going to the liquor store. At one point, he said, Hanley told him â€œIâ€™m going to hurt Tashina,â€ but he couldnâ€™t remember if that one was a phone call or a text message.
He didnâ€™t pay much attention, he said. â€œI deleted them as they came in and just got more and more mad.â€
The boyfriend testified he got home from work at about 3:30 p.m. and was quite concerned because a neighbour had called him to say his front door was ajar.
He said Hanley tried to stop him from entering the house, telling him â€œjust stop, hold on,â€ and â€œcalm down, let me explain.â€
â€œI said â€˜Get out of my way.â€™â€
Hanley kept putting herself between him and his front door, he said, so he â€œstraight-armedâ€ her, pushing her to the ground. He testified Hanley protested, â€œThatâ€™s no way to treat a lady,â€ in a mock British accent.
He said he apologized, helped her to her feet and walked inside his house. Clothing was all over the floor, furniture was moved around and the windows were covered up with sheets and blankets, he told the court.
â€œIt looked like a hurricane hit my house.â€
He said he then went into the bathroom and found Sutherlandâ€™s body slumped over the bathtub with multiple stab wounds through her face, neck and head. â€œI was pretty sure she was dead. I didnâ€™t want to believe it.â€
He then returned to the living room, where Hanley was sitting in a chair.
â€œI asked her â€˜Why? What was the meaning to the madness? Why did you do it?â€
Hanley allegedly replied, â€œItâ€™s so stupid, Iâ€™m not even going to tell you.â€
â€œIâ€™m looking at stupidity unleashed all around me, so please try,â€ he rejoined.
He said she again replied, â€œItâ€™s so foolish, so silly, Iâ€™m not going to tell you.â€
â€œI kicked her out of my house,â€ he told the court, â€œby telling her â€˜Get the f— out of my house, weâ€™re done.â€
He said Hanley left at that point. â€œShe seemed calm.â€
He didnâ€™t notice if she seemed drunk.
â€œI was a bit beside myself.â€
The Crown witness testified that he then got into his truck and parked it down the road, went back into the house and knelt by Sutherland to say his â€œgoodbyes,â€ grabbed a beer from the table, called 911, â€œcracked a beerâ€ and waited on his front lawn for the police to come.
Crown prosecutor Jennifer Lopes asked him why he moved his truck. He replied he knew his house would be cordoned off and that he needed his truck for work. He also removed two guns, which he said were for hunting, from his house before the police arrived.
Last week, Hanley dabbed at her eyes with a Kleenex as the court viewed crime scene photos of the deceased when her trial began this week.
The Crown’s first witness, a Surrey RCMP forensic identification officer, said two knives were found, and showed them in court.
One was a black-handled boning knife with a bent blade six inches long and the other – a bayonet with a 10-inch-long blade about a half-inch wide at the hilt – was found on the living room couch. The officer said this knife contained DNA from both the victim and the accused.
The boyfriend testified Monday that the bayonet was from the Second World War and that heâ€™d had it for more than 20 years.
â€œI always kept it underneath the cushion of the couch,â€ he said.
The trial continues.