The man accused in the 2006 deaths of two RCMP officers near Spiritwood, Sask., began telling his story to jurors on Thursday.
Curt Dagenais, 44, is charged with first-degree murder in the July 2006 shooting deaths of RCMP constables Marc Bourdages and Robin Cameron. He's also charged with the attempted murder of Const. Michelle Knopp, who was wounded in the same incident.
The Crown says that Dagenais sped off following a family dispute at his mother's home and was pursued by three officers — Cameron, Bourdages and Knopp.
The chase ended in a remote area. Knopp arrived last and was injured. Cameron and Bourdages were found with gunshot wounds to the head and died a week later.
Dagenais testified he wanted help in resolving the family dispute. He told the six-man, six-woman jury that he was shocked when police threatened to arrest him. Afraid of police, he fled.
Police gave chase, he said, and that chase ended at a clearing at the end of a dirt trail leading to the Dagenais farm. Dagenais said a police vehicle rammed his pickup truck and a shot was fired at his truck. He said he saw Bourdages standing at the rear of his truck with gun drawn.
He said he was frightened and returned fire after the police bullet shattered his truck's rear window.
Dagenais suggested he didn't mean to kill anyone and that the results were an accident. He said he grabbed a rifle that was on the front seat of his truck, held it over his head and fired.
"You're trying to tell us you didn't intend to kill them?" Crown prosecutor Al Johnson asked on cross-examination. "Is that what you're trying to pull here?"
"Trying to defend myself," Dagenais replied.
"You knew you were under arrest, didn't you? You understood you were under arrest, didn't you?" Johnson asked.
Following testimony by the accused, the court took a break. It will be up to the defence to decide whether to call more witnesses. If not, the judge will ask both the Crown and defence to make their final arguments in the case.
Earlier in the trial, the Crown called dozens of witnesses in an effort to convince the jury that Dagenais is responsible for the deaths.
The trial was disrupted for about 45 minutes Wednesday afternoon when the defendant collapsed in the prisoner's box.
Pictures entered as evidence include one of a police vehicle perpendicular to Dagenais's truck. The picture shows the driver's side window of the police vehicle with a large, circular hole through it.
Also entered as evidence is a Winchester rifle, which Crown prosecutor Scott Bartlett said had been located in a slough on a farm property. As well, evidence includes empty .30-30 shell casings and 9-mm bullet fragments found in Dagenais's truck. Firearms experts testified on bullet fragments and shell casings found at the scene, and the medical examiner gave evidence on the wounds to the officers.
The surviving officer, Michelle Knopp, also testified.