Russell Glow thought he was helping someone fetch a sound system so he could fence it and make a few quick bucks for each of them.
Instead, Glow says he was confronted by a scene of a man’s grisly death and a stunning possibility: The gang associate he was walking with was a stone-cold killer who had just completed his first-ever "hit" for a new murder-for-hire organization.
That’s what a Winnipeg jury of six men and six women heard Monday in Kenneth Roulette’s ongoing first-degree murder trial, now into its third week.
Roulette, 28, has pleaded not guilty to brutally stabbing and beating Mad Cowz street gang members Jessie Henderson and Dennis Baptiste inside a suite at 729 Maryland St., early on Jan. 31, 2009.
Jurors were played the audio of Glow’s preliminary hearing testimony from last year. Glow died earlier this year of natural causes.
Glow admitted under oath he was a crack addict with a criminal past who got an immunity deal in exchange for coming forward to police a year after the homicides with information implicating Roulette.
Glow allowed young gang associates the use of his Sherbrook Street apartment to allow them to "chop" their drugs up for sale and was paid in drugs for allowing this, jurors heard. Roulette often accompanied the Mad Cowz dealers to the packaging sessions, but he only knew him by his street name, "Bigs," Glow said.
On the morning Baptiste and Henderson were killed, Roulette turned up at Glow’s home with blood on his shirt, pants and shoes, Glow said in his taped testimony.
Glow helped Roulette clean up, gave him a change of clothes and then accompanied him to fetch a large TV set from a snowbank on a nearby backyard, he said.
Glow said Roulette enlisted him to help retrieve a surround-sound system from a nearby home a short walk away. As they approached the Maryland suite, Roulette explained he had been in an altercation and was "involved in starting some sort of organization of hits for hire... he would kill people for money," Glow testified.
At the entranceway to 729 Maryland, Glow saw blood and a body of a man the bottom of some stairs "crumpled into a ball," he said.
"He said that this was his first job and that he was responsible for the body," Glow testified. "Well, this job here, I got $3,000-5,000," he recalled Roulette telling him. Roulette also extended a grim offer: "If I needed any kind of work like this done, he’s be willing to do that for a price," Glow said.
Glow said he left after refusing to go further into the suite. "I wanted to get the hell out of there... I don’t want to be linked to a murder."
Glow said he gave a statement to police more than a year after the homicides after learning a close relative was with Roulette in Red Deer, Alta., and he feared for his safety. Stuck in jail on unrelated charges himself, Glow said he realized he could do something to take Roulette off the street and negate the threat he supposedly posed.
As part of his immunity deal, Glow’s charges were dropped and he was freed.
Jurors likely noticed a few inconsistencies between what they’ve already heard from other witnesses and Glow’s testimony. For instance, Glow referred to the body at the base of the stairs as that of a black man, while Baptiste was Aboriginal. Also, Glow’s wife previously testified Roulette didn’t turn up at their home until evening, not early in the morning.
Prior to hearing Glow’s testimony, Justice Robert Dewar cautioned jurors to regard his testimony with caution and to look outside it for confirmatory evidence.
"You may conclude you are not getting the full story from Mr. Glow — you may conclude that you are," Dewar warned. "It would be dangerous to accept what Mr. Glow says at face value," the judge said.
Today, jurors will hear defence lawyer Greg Brodsky’s cross-examination of Glow from that earlier preliminary hearing.