December 7, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
A key Crown witness in a brutal double-homicide wasn't bashful about admitting he was a criminal of convenience — a person willing to advance his own interests by lying, cheating and thieving, a Winnipeg jury heard Tuesday.
"I would say that I have been a liar and a cheat. I've lied to take advantage of opportunities," Russell Glow admitted under oath at a preliminary hearing last year. "I guess a criminal of opportunity," Glow told defence lawyer Greg Brodsky.
Glow, who died of natural causes earlier this year, was granted immunity from unrelated drug and weapons charges in exchange for giving evidence against Kenneth Roulette.
Roulette, 28, is accused of first-degree murder for the deaths of Mad Cowz street gang members Jessie Henderson and Dennis Baptiste inside a Maryland Street apartment on Jan. 31, 2009.
He has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent.
The six-man, six-woman jury hearing Roulette's trial were played the audio of Glow's sworn preliminary inquiry testimony, necessary because of his death.
Glow told court on May 15, 2012, Roulette admitted killing the two men for cash for a contract-killing enterprise.
A crack addict, Glow said he knew Roulette from when he would turn up at his Sherbrook Street home to supervise young drug dealers. Glow invited Mad Cowz members in to allow them to "chop" their drugs for sale on the street. In return, he'd be paid in crack cocaine, he said.
He said a blood-stained Roulette came to his suite shortly after the homicides and sought his help to clean up and fetch electronics from the nearby crime scene. Glow said he agreed to help, but then backed off after Roulette showed him Baptiste's lifeless body lying in a pool of blood at the entrance to 729 Maryland St.
Brodsky attacked Glow's motivations for coming forward to police a year after Henderson and Baptiste were slain, suggesting he made up a story for police so he could get out of jail.
Glow maintained he was concerned for the safety of a relative he knew was with Roulette in Alberta and believed he was doing something to get Roulette off the street.
Glow's evidence came with a warning to the jury from Justice Robert Dewar. The judge warned them it would be unwise to accept what Glow had to say at face value, and advised them to look outside what he said for other evidence to confirm it.
Glow was the second criminally involved witness to testify against Roulette. Former gang member and drug-dealer Philip Asham previously told court Roulette called him early on Jan. 31, 2009 to say he "murked (murdered) two guys" and wanted help cleaning up the crime scene. According to Asham, Roulette was acting paranoid and believed the men were "plotting" against him.
As with Glow, Brodsky attacked Asham's testimony as a made-up "story" he came forward to police with in an effort to gain a benefit for himself.
Tuesday, the Crown closed its case. Brodsky said he will not call evidence, saying he was "relying on the presumption of innocence."
Closing arguments will be heard Wednesday morning.