Trial begins for teen charged with first-degree murder
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 10/12/2018 (1643 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
The trial for a Winnipeg man accused of carrying out a premeditated murder at the age of 16 began Monday, with the Crown prosecutor presenting cellphone footage of the January 2017 fatal shooting to the court.
The accused cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, since he was a minor at the time of the slaying. He is now 18, and has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
Justice David Kroft was introduced to the first pieces of evidence in the case Monday, including a cellphone video, a 911 audio recording, and eyewitness testimony.
“This is essentially a connect-the-dots type of case. It’s circumstantial, but the Crown submits it’s a strong circumstantial case,” said prosecutor Jodi Koffman.
“Each piece of evidence presented on its own may not allow the court to see the guilt of (the accused). However, all of the pieces of the puzzle combined will point to the guilt of (the accused) beyond a reasonable doubt in the first-degree murder of Tyler Kirton.”
Kirton, 25, of Winnipeg, was shot to death Jan. 3, 2017, on the 400 block of Thames Avenue.
He had driven to the area with two acquaintances, and parked along the side of the street, the court heard Monday. After stepping out of the vehicle, he was fatally shot in the chest and left bleeding in the road.
The two people who accompanied Kirton to the area — one of whom captured the shooting on their cellphone — fled the scene on foot. An autopsy later determined the bullet had pierced Kirton’s heart.
The footage was taken from the front passenger seat of the vehicle Kirton had been driving. It appears to show him exit the vehicle and walk out into the road, presumably to meet someone.
A gunshot can be heard ringing out, followed by the person filming saying: “Did he get shot? He got shot. Go help him.”
The courtroom was packed with family and friends of both Kirton and the accused. Some of Kirton’s family members broke down and cried as graphic photos from his autopsy were shown to the court.
The bullet removed from the wound in Kirton’s chest was similar to ammunition later found in the accused’s bedroom by police, the court was told. The accused lived with his family on the same block where the shooting took place.
The accused is being represented by defence attorney Bruce Bonney, who engaged in little cross-examination Monday. However, he did question a Winnipeg Police Service officer who helped execute a search warrant at the accused’s home in the aftermath of the shooting.
Bonney pointed out no gunshot residue testing was performed on his client nor his clothing. The lawyer also stressed his client’s bedroom — where the ammunition was reported to be found — was not fingerprinted, seemingly suggesting someone else could have had access to it.
The accused was arrested and taken into custody Jan. 4, the day after the shooting.
He was initially charged with second-degree murder. One month later, city police increased the charge to first-degree murder following a review of the evidence.
A charge of first-degree murder is laid when police believe a slaying is intentional and planned.
The Crown said it plans to call 28 witnesses throughout the trial, which is scheduled to last 10 days, and will introduce multiple cellphones and laptop computers into evidence.
Day 2 of the trial is set to begin at 10 a.m. Tuesday, when the Crown is expected to call a further three WPS officers to testify, as well as the accused’s mother, who heard gunshots on the night in question and called 911.
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.