Disturbing video played in court shows fatal attack in LRT car
Warning: video footage contains shocking images that may upset some people
Family members of a man beaten to death on an LRT train wept in court Wednesday as video of the attack was shown to a jury.
The disturbing video shows John Hollar walking onto the train at Coliseum station on Dec. 28, 2012. Dressed in a white winter coat, Hollar is attacked within seconds by Jeremy Newborn, wearing a black coat.
Newborn, who has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, held his head in his hands as the silent video played in court.
Victim did not fight back, witness said
Manwar Khan testified that he boarded the train at Corona station that day.
He said he remembers seeing the man in black chasing the man in white, who repeatedly said, "Leave me alone, don't hit me" as he was beaten in the face and chest.
The man in white did not fight back, Khan said, and the beating continued as Khan left the train at Belvedere station. By then, Hollar was on the floor of the train.
Khan, who can be seen holding up his hands in some of the video, said everyone on the train was scared. He said he hit the train's emergency button, but doesn't remember the response.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Newborn was arrested for assault shortly after the fight. Hollar, 29, was taken to hospital in critical condition with head injuries. He was taken off life-support the next day.
On Dec. 30, an Edmonton police detective told Newborn that Hollar was not expected to live. "He is going to be all right," Newborn responded. "I know he's going to be OK. He's a tough kid."
Hollar died in hospital that night.
When Khan was asked if he recognized the attacker in video, he pointed at Newborn.
Case hinges on difference between manslaughter and murder, defence argues
Khan's testimony came after prosecutor John Watson said the Crown's case will primarily be based on the testimony of witnesses who were riding the train.
In his opening remarks on Wednesday, Watson outlined the timeline of events. When Hollar boarded the train at Coliseum station, Newborn was getting off, he said. When the altercation began, Hollar tried to get away as most passengers scattered and left the train at Belvedere station. The attack continued until the train reached Clareview station, where Newborn got off. He was arrested outside, Watson said.
Defence lawyer Simon Renouf said the case is not a whodunit, but rather an exploration to discover what was in his client's mind that day.
Renouf told jurors they will likely be satisfied that his client did assault Hollar, and that Hollar later died in hospital. He said the case will hinge on the difference between two types of homicide — manslaughter or murder.
The mystery to be unraveled, Renouf said, is what was going on in Newborn's mind that day, and what his intentions were.
Renouf told the jury a neuropsychologist will testify about the results of tests done on his client, which will show that Newborn falls below the first percentile of the general population for intellectual function.
Pointing to his client in the prisoner's box, Renouf told the jury Newborn has behavioural problems and is easily distracted.
He said a major question to be answered at trial is whether Newborn knew his actions that night would lead to Hollar's death.
Justice Brian Burrows told the jury of five men and seven women that the trial is expected to last four weeks.