Man charged with killing woman in Kamloops motel room claims he ‘blacked out’

Debra Novacluse of Abbotsford was found beaten to death in a room at the Super 8 Motel in Kamloops on Aug. 27, 2016. David Miller is on trial, charged with first-degree murder

A man standing trial for the first-degree murder of a woman found dead in a Kamloops motel room in 2016 initially told police he “blacked out” for a period of days during the time she was killed.

Debra Novacluse, 52, was found beaten to death in a first-floor room at the Super 8 Motel on Hugh Allan Drive in Aberdeen on Aug. 27, 2016.

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David Albert Miller was arrested days later in Ontario.

Prosecutors have said surveillance from the hotel shows Miller and Novacluse shared a room before she was killed.

On Thursday, court was shown video of Miller, 69, being interviewed by Kamloops Mounties in Ontario hours after his arrest.

In the video, Miller is leaning back in a chair with his legs crossed, sitting across from RCMP Sgt. Mark Davidson. Under questioning from Davidson, Miller describes the volatile end of his marriage in the weeks leading to his arrest.

“With my situation, I got stress,” Miller said at one point, referencing a workplace accident he suffered years earlier while working as a truck driver.

“I need my space and she wouldn’t leave me alone. … I’d need to clear my head and she’d be yakking at me.”

Miller described an argument with his wife on a camping trip in early August 2016, three weeks before he would be accused of murdering Novacluse.

According to Miller, his final fight with his wife was at a campground near Hope. 

“I lost my temper,” he said. “I purposely lost my temper to get my point across and get her to leave me alone.”

His wife called the police and Miller walked to the highway, where he hitchhiked to Kamloops, he said in the video.

Miller told Davidson he spent two or three nights in his Kamloops motel room. He said he became frustrated while in the city and trying to cash out his workers’ compensation payments into a reduced lump sum.

According to Miller, the plan was to buy a $150,000 big rig from a Kamloops dealer and start a trucking company. It fell through.

In the video, Davidson then asked Miller how he ended up in Ontario.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” he replied. “I blacked out. I don’t know. She pissed me off, the WCB worker pissed me off. I got to drinking, smoking some weed. I don’t remember. I’ve been drinking. Stressed out.”

Davidson replied: “I can see, certainly, where the stress is coming from — from everywhere.”

“Too much for me to handle,” Miller said.

Police have said they believe Miller and Novacluse travelled to Kamloops together.

Crown prosecutor Monica Fras said in her opening statement on Monday that Miller can be seen on video surveillance leaving the Super 8 in Novacluse’s vehicle, which was later found abandoned in Calgary.

Court has also heard WestJet Airlines staff told police Miller flew to Ottawa from Calgary.

Miller’s trial is scheduled to last five weeks.

© Kamloops This Week


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