Calgary Herald

Conviction upheld for man who filmed girlfriend’s death

Judge concluded Martel intended to stab woman

- Daryl SlaDe dslade@calgaryher­

The Alberta Court of Appeal has upheld a second-degree murder conviction against a Calgary man who stabbed his girlfriend, then videotaped her dying breaths on his cellphone.

Justice Keith Ritter, speaking for the three-judge panel, called the evidence “overwhelmi­ng” in determinin­g that Travis Marc Martel intended to kill Sarah Rae on Aug. 3, 2008.

Defence lawyer Alias Sanders had argued to have the conviction against Martel reduced to manslaught­er. She said it could have been an accident in the midst of struggle.

Sanders said there was a gap in time between the stabbing and the video, so it could not be determinat­ive of intent.

However, the appeal court said the video was the best evidence to show it was part of one continuous action in the death of Rae.

Gordon Rae, the victim’s father, said it was a relief that the appeal was denied. He said the disturbing video was the key piece of evidence.

“The video and what (Martel) says in it is what really nailed him,” said Gordon Rae. “As horrible as the video is . . . we’ve never seen it, just the transcript­s.

“Fortunatel­y, they didn’t have to play it during the appeal. I think the panel of judges must have seen it, so what they said must have been familiar.”

In the video recording, which was recovered by Calgary police technical experts and played at trial, Martel is heard to say: “Look at the wound you’ve got there . . . Straight to the sternum. . . . Right on.”

The appellate court did not require Crown prosecutor Jolaine Antonio to make any arguments before they made the ruling.

Sarah Rae, 24, was an estheticia­n who worked at the Chinook Centre. She was in a relationsh­ip with Martel, 36, for 41/2 years but was in the process of breaking it off. They were drinking at the Back Alley nightclub that night and returned to his home, in the 6100 block of 4th Avenue N.E., after 2 a.m. when an argument apparently ensued.

Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Peter McIntyre said during the trial he could only conclude that Martel, who was jealous of her new boyfriend, intentiona­lly stabbed the woman.

He said he couldn’t confirm anything else leading up to the crime as Martel was a habitual liar.

Justice Myra Bielby agreed that the statements made by Martel in the video show his intent and that he was pleased with what had occurred.

McIntyre sentenced Martel to life imprisonme­nt with no chance of parole for 12 years.

The Crown has appealed the sentence.

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Sarah rae

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