Dwight Ball's apartment, cars watched as daughter tracked during Phillips murder investigation
Jade Ball, Brandon Phillips under surveillance by RNC after shooting at Captain's Quarters in 2015
Brandon Phillips and then-girlfriend Jade Ball were watched by members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's surveillance unit for days after a fatal shooting at Captain's Quarters Hotel.
Const. Gregory Greeley of the RNC was tasked with surveillance of several "targets," primarily Phillips and Jade Ball, daughter of Premier Dwight Ball.
Greeley took the stand Wednesday at the first-degree murder trial for Phillips at Supreme Court in St. John's.
Greeley told the jury he was told to watch 30A Quidi Vidi Rd., a "target residence" a short distance away from the hotel where Larry Wellman was shot and killed Oct. 3, 2015.
On Oct. 7, Greeley said, he observed Jade Ball and Phillips entering the house on Quidi Vidi Road.
Officer stationed outside premier's apartment
"The target [Phillips] stopped at the door and took out a set of keys to gain entry to the home on Quidi Vidi Road," he told the jury.
On Oct. 12, Greeley was stationed outside of the Tiffany, a building on Tiffany Lane, where Dwight Ball has an apartment. At the time, Dwight Ball was not premier, but was in the lead up to an election campaign.
"You are surveying Dwight Ball's residence and Dwight Ball's vehicle," defence lawyer Mark Gruchy said to the officer.
"Two of them — also a black Audi," Greeley said. The other was a 2011 White Audi.
At one point, the surveillance team was tailing a white Audi registered to Dwight Ball. Greeley testified that Jade Ball, Phillips and an unknown man were in the vehicle but the RNC team lost sight of it.
The jury also heard Jade Ball remained under police surveillance for three days after her boyfriend was arrested for the shooting death of Wellman.
Second man watched in days after shooting
Gruchy pointed out that the surveillance team was also watching a second man — John Squires — in the days after the shooting, and that Squires was a known criminal.
Greeley insisted he did not know why he was tasked to follow these people, only that it was needed for an investigation.
Gruchy asked about other people who were watched as part of the investigation.
Greeley said other people were seen going into the house on Quidi Vidi Road, where police would later find a shotgun and sneakers containing Phillips's and Wellman's DNA.
But Greeley said only one person was seen having keys to the house, and that was Phillips.
Jade Ball 'person of interest'
Const. Cynthia Crocker, who attended both scenes at the Captain's Quarters and Quidi Vidi Road, took the stand after Greeley.
She was tasked with collecting evidence at the home on Quidi Vidi Road where many crucial pieces of evidence were found.
During cross-examination, Jeff Brace pressed Crocker on alternative suspects.
Brace said that Jade Ball was a "person of interest" and that police collected a cast-off (cigarette butt, chewing gum, etc.) containing her DNA.
Brace questioned why it was collected but was never sent for analysis. A DNA sample was also taken from another man, the jury was told, but was never sent away.
"It was just left ... for us to wonder," Brace said.
Crocker said they didn't test it because at that point they had evidence piling up against Phillips, including items found at the address on Quidi Vidi Road and DNA evidence.
"What you're telling me is that because information came back that was useful for the Phillips investigation we're not going to see it," Brace said.
"Mr. Wellman's blood was on Phillips's shoe," she answered.
Bartender expected to testify Thursday
Dwight Ball did receive notice that he may have to testify at trial. But the Crown, which will wrap up its case this week, will not call Ball to the stand.
Phillips, 29, has been on trial for the last two and a half weeks at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's.
Family members of shooting victim Larry Wellman have sat through every day of proceedings, which have been both emotional and technical.
Janet Hutchings, the woman who was tending bar at the Captain's Quarters Hotel on Oct. 3, 2015, is expected to testify on Thursday.
She will likely be the last witness for the Crown.
Wellman, 63, was shot while trying to thwart a masked gunman at the hotel's bar. He died later in hospital.
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So far in the trial, the jury has:
- Seen security footage from the bar during the 2015 robbery
- Heard from Wellman's widow about the night her husband was killed
- Listened to testimony from Const. Barry Reynolds, the police officer who stayed with Wellman during his final moments
- Heard from Shawn Deeley, a former patron at the Captain's Quarters
- Received an update from Dr. Simon Avis, chief medical examiner for Newfoundland and Labrador, testified Wellman was killed by a single gunshot to the groin
- Been shown evidence such as a mask and shotgun that were collected after the shooting
- Learned that a single particle of gunshot residue was found on a hat discovered near the hotel
- Heard evidence that the alleged murder weapon discharged in testing without touching the trigger
- Been told DNA belonging to Phillips was found on hat, sneakers, shotgun shell