Calgary

'Fighting for my life': Calgary man on trial for murder says he didn't mean to kill victim

A Calgary man on trial for murder says he was "thinking of survival" when he fatally shot Arnold Kerfont in 2017.

Armando Baccari, 40, accused in 2017 shooting death of Arnold Kerfont

Arnold Kerfont, 44, was shot to death in 2017. Armando Pepino Baccari was found not guilty of 2nd-degree murder after the judge found it plausible he was acting in self-defence. (countryhillscrematorium.ca)

A Calgary man on trial for murder says he was "thinking of survival" when he fatally shot Arnold Kerfont in 2017.

Armando Baccari, 40, testified in his own defence at his second-degree murder trial on Thursday, telling Court of Queen's Bench Justice Jim Eamon that he "wasn't trying to kill" Kerfont. 

The two men were acquaintances through Baccari's sister. 

In the early morning hours of Oct. 14, 2017, the accused and a woman pulled up to his sister's home to find Kerfont trying to get in. 

Baccari says he asked Kerfont what was happening and the victim became aggressive right away, running to the car and attacking Baccari, who was still in the driver's seat.

'Fighting for my life'

Baccari managed to get out of his car but says he was body-slammed to the ground by Kerfont, who began kicking him in the head. 

After more than a dozen blows to his head, Baccari says, someone pushed Kerfont off of him and he managed to stand up.

He testified that a handgun he'd been carrying fell from his jacket onto the ground. Other witnesses also testified the gun fell to the ground during the fight.

"We both went for it at the same time," said Baccari. "I'm fighting for my life."

"I grabbed it first … because I didn't want to be killed."

'I wasn't trying to kill him'

Baccari says he shot at Kerfont once. 

"I wasn't trying to kill him," he said. "I was aiming for his ass, you can't kill someone there."

The shooter and the woman he had arrived with fled the scene. Baccari says that when he learned Kerfont had died, he was shocked.

Baccari has a lengthy, violent criminal history with previous convictions for a firebombing and the torture of a Calgary man. 

Kerfont aggressive with girlfriend 

Despite a lifetime weapons prohibition, Baccari says he was carrying a gun that night because police had warned him that his life was in danger. 

Earlier in the trial, witnesses testified that Kerfont had physically attacked his girlfriend, stabbed her tires and threatened to cut her in the time leading up to the fatal fight.

He was found to have alcohol, meth and marijuana in his system at the time of his death.

Prosecutor Matt Dalidowicz will continue his cross-examination of Baccari on Friday.

In 2009, Baccari firebombed a home, injuring three members of a family. 

He smashed the glass balcony doors of a southeast home with a hammer and threw a Molotov cocktail inside.

Baccari was sentenced to seven years in prison following a trial.

In 2006, he beat a man who had been tied to a chair. The beating was so violent, it was described in court as "torture."

Baccari was sentenced to just over three years in prison for that crime. 

Baccari's current trial is set to last four weeks. His lawyer, Jim Lutz, is focusing the case on two issues: self-defence and intent. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary crime reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary. If you have a good story idea or tip, you can reach her at meghan.grant@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @CBCMeg.

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