Hours before 3-year-old Hunter Straight-Smith was fatally stabbed, Daniel Jensen – who is accused of killing the youngster – was told the boy and his mom were intending to move away, the woman said in front of a jury on Tuesday.
Jensen is on trial at Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench, charged with first-degree murder in Hunter’s 2019 stabbing death. The 34-year-old has pleaded not guilty.
Clarice Smith, Hunter’s mom, told the court Tuesday that before the fatal October 30 incident, Jensen was living with them.
She said that night, she visited some bars and lounges in Winnipeg with some friends and Jensen, with who she was in an on-again, off-again relationship.
Whereas in a car at one point, she and Jensen got into an argument, Smith told the jury.
He said, ‘I’ll get your son taken away from you.’– Clarice Smith
She said she could not remember the reason for the dispute, but it escalated.
“He said, ‘I’ll get your son taken away from you,'” Smith testified.
She then punched Jensen 3 times, added Smith.
The threat led Smith to decide she would move with Hunter back to her home community of Manigotagan, around 150km northeast of Winnipeg, without Jensen. She was initially intending to bring Jensen along.
“I don’t know where we were going to go, but I was going to take [Hunter] somewhere … because I didn’t feel safe with Dan,” Smith testified.
Jensen was jealous, angry night of stabbing: mother
Smith told the jury she went into the bedroom where the three slept and dressed Hunter in a sweater and sweatpants. Then a friend came and convinced her to go to a bar at the Northern Hotel on Main Street, so she put Hunter back to sleep.
When questioned in court if that was the last time she saw her son alive, Smith said yes before shedding tears. The trial went into a brief recess.
Smith testified Jensen became jealous at the bar that night when she chatted with some acquaintances.
She later told him she had changed plans about her future living arrangements.
“I told him just me and Hunter were going to move to my mom’s,” she said.
“He got mad.”
Smith testified that Jensen assaulted her and left the bar, and she never saw him again that night.
Crown prosecutors alleged on Monday, the first day of the trial, that Jensen was so angry with the boy’s mom that he tried to hurt her in the cruelest manner he knew how – by taking the life of her only son.
Crown prosecutor Courtney St. Croix told the court on Monday that Jensen went along to Hunter’s home on Pritchard Avenue, where he went upstairs and stabbed the sleeping boy 6 times in the neck and face.
Hunter was taken to hospital and placed on life support because of brain damage from severe blood loss. He was removed from the machines 3 days later and died.
Jensen was initially charged with multiple offences, including attempted murder, but that charge was later upgraded.
The trial, which is set to last for 30 days, continues on Wednesday.