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‘I’m innocent’: Jury hears Sparks’ phone calls at Halifax murder trial

Calvin Joel Maynard Sparks charged with first-degree murder

4 min read
caption Calvin Joel Maynard Sparks and Samanda Rose Ritch are on trial in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Karla Renic

A jury has heard the first of a series of phone call recordings from the man accused of murdering Nadia Gonzales in 2017.

Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks, 26, is on trial in a Halifax courtroom charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

On Friday, the jury was played 10 recordings of phone calls Sparks made while at the Central Nova Correctional Centre in Dartmouth between June 21 and June 26, 2017. The Crown did not say who was on the other end of the line, but some of the recordings made clear he was speaking to his father, girlfriend and cousins, among others.

“I’m innocent,” Sparks said to his father in one call on June 21, the second recording the jury heard. “They’re trying to make me out to be a monster or something.”

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His father responded, “I know my son isn’t a murderer, don’t worry about that.”

Gonzales, 35, was stabbed 37 times and placed in a black hockey bag. She was found in a stairwell of an apartment building at 33 Hastings Dr.  John Patterson, 72, was found outside of the building with six stab wounds.

Samanda Rose Ritch, 22, is on trial with Sparks. She is also charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder.

In the June 21 phone call, Sparks’ father also told him that he deposited money into his canteen fund and a separate phone fund.

In another call later that day, Sparks asked an unidentified woman to deposit money into Ritch’s canteen fund, but not the phone fund. He said he didn’t want Ritch to have money to make calls. “I don’t know how her lips are right now,” Sparks said in the recording.

Sparks repeated this same message in another recording on June 24.

That day, he also spoke to his girlfriend and said he wasn’t able to call for two days because he was in surgery.

“My hands are all fucked up,” he said.

“Oh, what happened?” she said.

“The murder thing happened,” he replied. “It’s involved with the case, I can’t talk about it.”

caption This is a photo of a police exhibit showing Calvin Sparks’ injuries.
Chelsea Cleroux

The jury heard another call that day in which Sparks told a man that his ligaments were torn and his fingers “were probably hanging off.” He told the man to break his SIM card, not talk to an unnamed officer and to “seriously” change his number.

In one of the calls on June 21, Sparks asked his father to get his car, a Honda Accord, parked near a building, and its keys that were in a secret location. In a call five days later, Sparks’ father said nobody could find his car. Sparks then told his father to get the car registered in his own name, call the police and pay to get it out of impound, if it was there.

In a call to his cousin on June 26, Sparks said both he and Ritch were innocent. Sparks also said he thought the police were investigating him through his seized phone. All the police will find, he said in the call, is family supporting him.

The last call recording the jury heard Friday was one Sparks made to his girlfriend. He said people in the jail were trying to take advantage of him because of his injured hand.

Crown attorney Rob Kennedy told the jury there are a total of 4.5 hours of call recordings. Andrew Miller, security risk manager at the jail, was on the stand Friday as the recordings were played and will return on Monday.

Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Christa Brothers told the jury that the trial will be extended for another week.

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Karla Renic

Karla Renic is a multimedia journalist in her fourth year at the University of King's College. She freelances and works as the news editor at...

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