Taking responsibility for a murder that her boyfriend committed was part of a scheme the couple and a roommate cooked up to let the couple walk free.
Instead, one man is in jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter and the ex-girlfriend faces a perjury charge.
Janessa Desiree Eliuk, 26, of Red Deer is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench in front of Justice Sheila Martin. She faces a charge of perjury. It is alleged she lied under oath when she testified in Paul Lionel White’s murder trial in 2008.
The Crown closed their case against Eliuk on Tuesday, calling only one witness, Deanna Cameron. Cameron has known Eliuk since the accused was six years old. On the stand on Tuesday, Cameron said she was like Eliuk’s big sister.
The scheme involved Eliuk testifying that she killed Grant Shoemaker, during White’s trial for the murder of Shoemaker, who was stabbed to death in 2005.
They reasoned that the claim would cast doubt on White’s role, leading to a not guilty verdict.
Eliuk told Cameron that White had sketched out, in graphic detail, how he had committed the murder. He gave the details to her so she could take responsibility for the crime on the stand.
Ultimately, White pleaded guilty to manslaughter in 2012.
Eliuk was led to believe she would also get to walk away from the crime because of provisions in the Canada Evidence Act that protect witnesses from being prosecuted for their testimony.
Cameron testified that the scheme was cooked up by White and his roommate Kenny Deck to make sure everyone was acquitted.
Eliuk and Cameron’s relationship changed the night Shoemaker was killed. The two drifted apart as Eliuk stood by her boyfriend White, who was initially charged with second-degree murder.
Cameron and her son had gone to Shoemaker’s residence the morning after his murder. They found the victim’s body. Later that evening, Cameron spoke with Eliuk and White. Cameron said White confided in her that he committed the murder.
At that point, Cameron began to drift away from Eliuk. However, the two still had many conversations between White’s first trial and his eventual conviction.
The outcome of White’s first trial was overturned and a new trial ordered. His second trial ended in a mistrial. Before his third trial was to start, he pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Concerned that White would walk free ahead of the second trial, Cameron wrote down one conversation she had with Eliuk. Later, she took to recording them. She presented the recording to Red Deer RCMP Const. Marko Henezi, the officer tasked with tracking the case.
Cameron agreed to a single-party consent wire tap and would have phone and personal conversations with Eliuk recorded by the police.
Other conversations discussed how Eliuk and White exchanged letters at the Red Deer Remand Centre by disguising envelopes to look like the letters were from a lawyer. These were not screened by Remand Centre staff, while personal correspondence typically was.
The trial is expected to resume this morning with defence counsel Tyson Dalhem of Calgary opening his case.