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Nadia Gonzales: Jury hears how knife found

Day 11 of murder trial brings further details of the night Gonzales was killed

4 min read
caption The trial of Calvin Sparks and Samanda Ritch continues in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Chelsea Cleroux

A police dog was brought in after Nadia Gonzales was found dead in a Dartmouth apartment, but it was an officer who found a knife, a jury heard Tuesday.

Const. Joey Malcolm of the Halifax Regional Police Canine Unit testified that he was called to 33 Hastings Dr. on June 16, 2017, the night Gonzales’ body was found.

Gonzales was found stuffed in a hockey bag on the landing of the west stairwell of the building. She had 37 stab wounds.

Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks, 26, and Samanda Rose Ritch, 22, are charged with first-degree murder. They are also charged with attempted murder in connection to John Patterson, 72, who was found injured that night.

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On Tuesday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court, Malcolm testified that he was called to the scene to track two people seen running away from the apartment building. After talking to some of the officers, Malcolm decided that it would be best to deploy his German shepherd partner, Casey, in the backyard of a residence where the runners were last seen.

Malcolm said Casey arrived at a hedge that looked like someone had cut through. The shrubs, he told the jury, “were broken and disturbed.”

Casey was not able to get over the hedge without assistance so Malcolm lifted her over. It was then that one of the officers accompanying him noticed a knife with a bright orange handle at the base of the shrubs.

Malcolm said one officer stayed with the knife, while he and Casey continued their track. The track ultimately led to a dead end in a church parking lot.

When asked why Casey did not detect the knife despite being trained to do so, Malcolm said it was because she had to be lifted over that section of the trail and the scent of the track was so strong.

caption This knife was found in a shrub during the Nadia Gonzales investigation.
Chelsea Cleroux

Sparks reaction

Const. Caleb Sarty with Halifax Regional Police testified about Sparks’ actions at the time of his arrest. He first encountered Sparks shortly after his arrest on June 17, 2017.

Sarty noted the bandages on Sparks’ hands. He said Sparks did not mind having his clothing taken but he did not want officers to take swabs of his hands.

Sarty said Sparks requested to go to the bathroom. He stood outside the door and heard the toilet flush multiple times. When Sparks came out of the bathroom he no longer had bandages on his hands.

Sarty said he noticed cuts on Sparks’ hands, and it was at that moment that police decided Sparks needed medical attention for his wounds.

Sarty said he could not find the bandages when they searched the bathroom.

caption This photo shows Calvin Sparks’ left hand after his arrest on June 17, 2017.
Chelsea Cleroux

Ritch’s arrest

Const. Jeff Patriquin, another Halifax Regional Police officer, testified that he received an email with picture attachments at around 4 a.m. on June 17, 2017, requesting that he identify a female associate of Sparks.

With the help of Facebook and the use of police software he found Ritch with the registered address, 3345 Federal Ave.

Patriquin then went to that address, along with a few other officers. He said officers asked Ritch to leave with them and she accompanied them without incident. She was arrested shortly after 5:30 a.m. on June 17, 2017.

The trial continues Wednesday, with the continued testimony of an RCMP officer who analyzed two cell phones.

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About the author

Chelsea Cleroux

Chelsea is a student journalist at the University of King's College in Halifax. She has a degree in Political Science from the University of...

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