Man behind 2 shootings in St. John's tells court he was out of control

The man who pulled the trigger in two shootings in St. John's says he was a scary guy back then, and out of control.

Crown says Jason Marsh should get 16 years for shooting 2 men in St. John's

Crown and defence lawyers are far apart in sentencing recommendations for convicted shooter Jason Marsh. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

The man who pulled the trigger in two shootings in west-end St. John's in 2013 says he was a "scary guy" back then, and "out of control."

In a pre-sentence report, Jason Marsh, 38, says if he hadn't been arrested, he probably would have killed someone. 

In Supreme Court in St. John's on Monday, Crown prosecutor Lisa Stead said Marsh should get 16 years in prison for the two shootings and related charges.

Stead said what Marsh did happened in residential areas, injured two men, put the public at risk, and that the same pre-sentence report says "he is a high risk to reoffend."

Crown prosecutor Lisa Stead says protection of the public is a major concern when it comes to Marsh's sentencing. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Stead said Marsh should get five years' credit for the time he's been in custody since his arrest in August 2014. That would leave him with 11 left to serve. 

The shootings

The first shooting happened in September 2013, when Marsh hit Kyle Mullett with a shotgun blast to the chest and arm outside his house on Boyle Street.

At trial, Mullett told the court that he figured Marsh and others were after money for drugs. Mullett said he wasn't involved in drugs.

Two months after the Boyle Street incident, Marsh put several .22-calibre bullets into Charles Lacosta, in Williams Heights near Bowring Park.

The shots that struck Lacosta were fired into his mother's house. Stead said others in the home could have been injured, and "Lacosta cried out in pain and asked him to stop," and fled out the back to get away. 

That November shooting left Lacosta with serious injuries, including a sliced liver, two holes in his small intestine and a section of his large intestine that had to be removed. 

Lacosta was in hospital for three weeks, and had to return for more operations. 

Marsh's lawyer, Arnold Hussey, says his client is showing insight into his behaviour. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Marsh's lawyer, Arnold Hussey, said Marsh should only have to serve five more years. 

Hussey said Marsh was sexually abused when he was five, and had to be taken from the family home. He said when Marsh was brought back seven years later, he witnessed his mother being abused by her drunken boyfriend. 

Marsh ended up on the street, his lawyer said, stealing to get by. He said Marsh now has insight into what he has done by admitting that if he continued the way he was, he would have killed someone.

Marsh has also admitted to having a drug problem and being "heavily involved in the drug trade."

Apology to victims

Justice William Goodridge asked Marsh on Monday if he had anything to say.

Marsh apologized to his victims and his family, and said, "I'm trying to better myself. I need to change. This is it."

Goodridge replied, "You still have a lot of years."

Marsh answered, "Yes I do."

Goodridge said, "You have been very respectful through this."

Marsh is escorted from court Monday. (Glenn Payette/CBC News)

Marsh had pleaded guilty to assault with a weapon, aggravated assault, and pointing a firearm in both of the shootings. He was also convicted of weapons charges. 

Despite evidence that he had accomplices, Marsh told the court in May he was the shooter in both incidents and that no one else was involved.

Marsh and another man, Christopher Shaw, were originally charged with attempted murder for the Lacosta shooting. 

Shaw, 34, pleaded guilty to weapons charges and in August was sentenced to three and a half years.

Marsh will be sentenced Friday. 

About the Author

Glenn Payette

Videojournalist

A veteran journalist with more than 30 years' experience, Glenn Payette is a videojournalist with CBC News in St. John's.