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Court hears girl beaten 'just for the hell of it'
WINNIPEG - A five-year-old girl was beaten bloody with a metal rod and had her face shoved in her own vomit before one final beating left her dead on the family's dirty basement floor, a Manitoba court heard Thursday.
Samantha Kematch and her common-law husband, Karl McKay, are accused of first-degree murder in the 2005 death of Phoenix Sinclair.
The couple is also accused of trying to pass off another child as Phoenix to convince welfare investigators and the RCMP that their daughter was still with the family.
McKay's youngest son shook and covered his face with his hands as he testified that both Kematch and McKay used to beat Phoenix, sometimes with their fists, other times with a metal rod, at their home in Fisher River, Man.
Phoenix was also shot with a pellet gun "just for the hell of it." The little girl was beaten and physically stomped on so much, her fifteen-year-old stepbrother said she just stopped crying.
After one beating, Phoenix's knuckles were cut open and became infected but she was never taken to the doctor, he said. At night, the boy said he could hear her sobbing in the basement through the vents and he would go down to check on her.
There was no heat in the basement and Phoenix would be "curled up in a little ball" without a blanket, he said.
Sometimes, Kematch would laugh while her daughter was being beaten or choked unconsciousness, he testified.
"I would look at their faces and I wouldn't see no tears or nothing," the boy said. "No remorse."
The day she died, McKay's son said his dad beat Phoenix and stomped on her head, as well as her chest. He pushed her and left her on the basement floor while Kematch watched. When the couple left the house to visit McKay's father, the boy said he went down to check on Phoenix and thought she was playing dead.
"I just touched her back," he said. "It was all cold. I put my hand on her mouth. She wasn't breathing."
When the couple returned to find Phoenix's lifeless body, the boy said they didn't show any emotion. He was told to "watch your baby sister. We're going to the dump and bury her," the boy said. "They were both in it together."
When the boy returned to his father's house several weeks later, he said the basement had been cleaned and the floor painted.
Phoenix's body was found in a shallow grave near the garbage dump in Fisher River, Man. in March 2006.
Kematch's defence lawyers have argued that McKay was in charge of the household and doled out the harshest beatings.
In her cross examination, lawyer Roberta Campbell suggested that Kematch never stomped on her daughter or forced her to eat her own vomit.
"Yeah, but she was there," the boy testified. "She was standing there. She didn't say anything. She was just watching."