Driver's deadly run at crowd 'intentional,' jury told
Jeffrey Leinen was angry and fully aware of what he was doing when he rammed his truck into a crowd outside an Alberta bar, killing a young man, the Crown said in its final arguments Tuesday at Leinen's murder trial.
Leinen has admitted to driving the truck that ran over and killed Nicholas Baier, 18, outside the bar in Olds, Alta., in October 2010, but has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.
"Halloween theme night at the Texas Mickey bar was expected to be a fun time but it ended in tragedy," prosecutor Roy Smith told the jury of seven men and five women. "This was clearly an intentional act and that, ladies and gentlemen, is murder.
Witnesses said Leinen, 25, had just been kicked out of the bar for fighting.
Victim standing with friends
Baier, a student at Olds College, was standing outside with friends when a pickup truck slammed into them. He was killed and another person was seriously injured.
Leinen, of Calgary, was arrested a short distance from the bar after his truck crashed.
"The evening began with the accused fighting in the bar and ended with Nicholas Baier dying," Smith said. "He took an action that cut short the life of Baier and affected the lives of many others.
Many of Baier's family and friends sat quietly in the courtroom watching the proceedings.
Leinen said he had been drinking heavily that night, but there were no real signs of impairment on video recorded throughout the evening or after he was arrested after rolling his truck after a police chase, Smith said.
Smith dismissed Leinen's explanation that he had panicked and was in fear of the crowd in the bar parking lot and accidentally hit somebody on his way out.
"This is way beyond belief," he said. "The accused in his statement said it was an accident. I suggest to you that is a lie."
Defence lawyer Andre Ouellette said his client panicked and there is no proof he planned to hurt anybody.
"You can't really determine what happened here," he told the jury. "I would suggest you need to acquit my client. The Crown cannot prove any intention beyond a reasonable doubt."
Ouellette said evidence that suggests his client was angry and indicated he was going to "kill" someone doesn't prove anything.
"Is that bravado? Is that testosterone speaking?" he asked. "Or is that an expression of intent?"
Justice Marsha Erb is to give her charge to the jury Wednesday.