After Abbotsford woman’s death, accused killer bragged about money at casino, video shows

After Abbotsford woman’s death, accused killer bragged about money at casino, video shows

David Miller is charged with the first-degree murder of Debra Novacluse in 2016

By Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week

A Fraser Valley man accused of murdering his girlfriend in a Kamloops motel suite in 2016 will have to wait until summer to learn his fate.

David Miller is charged with first-degree murder. His trial before a judge alone in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops concluded earlier this month.

Debra Novacluse, 52, was found dead by staff at the Super 8 Motel in Aberdeen on Aug. 27, 2016. Miller, now 69, was arrested days later in Ontario and has been in custody since.

Court heard Miller and Novacluse were visiting Kamloops from Abbotsford in the summer of 2016. Following his arrest, Miller told police he was responsible for Novacluse’s death, but said it was a result of accidental asphyxiation or rough sex gone too far.

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A forensic pathologist testified Novacluse’s cause of death could have been asphyxiation or blunt-force trauma.

In closing arguments in mid-February, defence lawyer Jim Heller suggested Miller was too drunk to form intent and therefore cannot be guilty of murder.

But Crown prosecutor Neil Wiberg, in his closing submissions, pointed to Miller’s actions on video surveillance and in a Facebook Live video taken hours before Novacluse was killed.

Wiberg said the videos do not show a drunk man, but “a man full of energy and able to perform complex tasks with no impairment of his motor skills.”

The video shows Miller at Cascades Casino, located across Hugh Allan Drive from the motel, bragging about how much money he had.

Wiberg also highlighted the fact Miller told police he discarded Novacluse’s belongings at various points along the highway while driving from Kamloops to Calgary after she died. A police officer testified he found Novacluse’s purse in a ditch near Sicamous.

B.C. Supreme Court Justice Marguerite Church is expected to deliver a verdict on July 31.