Man shot 7 times while trying to defuse neighbour's domestic dispute, murder trial hears

A 30-year-old Calgary man died after being shot seven times — including as he lay bleeding on the ground — while trying to defuse a domestic dispute at his neighbour's duplex, a Calgary court heard.

Alan Bird is on trial for 1st-degree murder but offered to plead guilty to manslaughter

Jamie Orellana was shot to death in February 2015 by Alan Bird. Bird is on trial for first-degree murder and has admitted to killing Orellana. Bird's lawyers say they plan to argue he is guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter. (Submitted by Gabriella Orellana)

Jamie Orellana was shot seven times and died trying to defuse a domestic dispute, court heard Monday as his killer's trial got underway.

Alan Bird, 23, is on trial for first-degree murder. 

The only issue will be Bird's intent at the time of the shooting; the facts of the case have all been admitted by the defence — in fact, the accused offered to plead guilty to manslaughter on Day 1 of his trial.

But prosecutors Ken McCaffrey and Heather Morris did not accept the plea, moving onto their opening statement — an outline of the case against Bird.

On Feb. 22, 2015, Orellana, 30, was outside enjoying the warm chinook weather at his home in the northeast community of Winston Heights-Mountview, Morris told the court.

A woman named Lena Crazybull lived on the other side of Orellana's duplex. She was dating Bird at the time but the two had been fighting for a couple of days.

Orellana shot 'at point-blank range'

Bird showed up that Sunday afternoon and became angry when Crazybull would not let him into her house. 

While Bird was banging on her doors and windows, Orellana told him to stop. A verbal fight turned physical when Orellana punched Bird, who then made his way into his girlfriend's home and grabbed a handgun.

Back outside, Bird began shooting Orellana, who was trying to run away. Even when the victim fell to the ground, Bird continued to shoot him "at point-blank range," said Morris. 

The medical examiner found Orellana's seven gunshot wounds caused him to die of blood loss.

'I know between right and wrong'

Bird took off from the crime scene and police found him a short time later a couple of blocks away at the Fox Hollow Golf Course, where he was arrested.

The gun was found in a pipe at the golf course.

During his arrest, Bird told officers, "I know between right and wrong and yet I do wrong…. I know I'm supposed to do good in life."

Then he apologized. 

Meanwhile, first responders were trying to save Orellana's life, performing CPR on the bleeding victim but he was dead by the time he arrived at Foothills hospital a short time later. 

Bird provoked: defence

"The Crown will prove accused formed a plan to kill Jamie Orellana and that he carried out that plan," said Morris at the end of her opening statement.

Defence lawyer Derek Jugnauth​ told Justice Alan Macleod he will argue his client was provoked. A successful defence of provocation would bring Bird's criminal responsibility from murder to manslaughter.

Bird's provocation defence will be founded on a recent diagnosis, said Jugnauth. Outside the courtroom, Jugnauth explained his client has been diagnosed with FASD (fetal alcohol spectrum disorder).

No family members in court

Orellana had moved to Calgary from St. Catharines, Ont., less than a year before his death to find a good job and pursue a better life, his family said after he was killed.

He had found a job as a carpenter and was living with a friend. 

Orellana was the eldest of five siblings who had been raised by a single mother. His siblings said they looked up to him as a father figure.

None of the victim's family members were in court for the first day of the trial. They are all based in Ontario.

The Crown's case is set to wrap up this week with the judge-alone trial continuing sometime in the fall for the defence to make its arguments.

About the Author

Meghan Grant

CBC Calgary reporter

Meghan Grant is the courts and crime reporter for CBC Calgary.