Edmonton

'I got on my knees, begged him to stop,' stabbing eyewitness testifies

More than three years later, Dale Holloway is still haunted by his battle with a knife-wielding killer. "I see eyes that are very white ... almost glowing they were so bright," he told a packed Grande Prairie courtroom.

Warning: This story includes graphic and disturbing details

Daniel Goodridge, 31, is on trial for two counts of first-degree murder (Jim Stokes )

More than three years later, Dale Holloway is still haunted by his battle with a knife-wielding killer.

"I see eyes that are very white ... almost glowing they were so bright," he told a packed Grande Prairie courtroom.

"I see blood glistening off of his chest and arms. He was wearing pyjama bottoms and nothing else.

"I see blood on Daniel. I see blood on the knife."

Holloway testified Tuesday at the double first-degree murder trial for Daniel Goodridge, who is accused of stabbing fellow work camp employees Dave Derksen and Holly Dubois to death on June 30, 2015. Goodridge has pleaded not guilty due to a mental disorder.

The image of Goodridge on the night of the murders is seared in Holloway's mind.

He said he stepped out of his room at the Berland work camp shortly after midnight when he heard screams and people running down the hall. The man in the room across the hall told him to stay away because someone had a knife.

Holloway walked toward the noise.

The blood-soaked scene of the deadly battle between Dave Derksen and Daniel Goodridge. (RCMP/Court exhibit )

"Then I started seeing blood," he said. "I noticed there was a lot of blood on the walls. The closer you got, there was more blood."

He saw two men struggling and yelled at them to stop. He said Goodridge ignored him but Derksen told him he had been stabbed.

Derksen, 37, broke free and stumbled toward the exit.

"Daniel was not a foot or two in front of me," Holloway said. "I could see the knife in his hands. He went and followed Dave outside."

Holloway put on his shoes and followed them.

By then, Derksen had collapsed and Goodridge was crouched over him, stabbing him in the abdomen.

"He was stabbing Dave, but he was hesitating while he was doing it," Holloway testified.  

Holloway paused on the witness stand to wipe away tears.

'I was really afraid for my life'

Holloway said he was convinced he could defuse the situation. For the next 15 minutes, he said, he tried to negotiate with Goodridge.

Dale Holloway admits he has spent a lot of time thinking about what happened that night at a work camp near Fox Creek, Alta. (Facebook/Dale Holloway )

"I offered him a cigarette," Holloway testified. "I offered him my truck keys. I wanted him to leave. I was begging him to drop the knife."

"I offered him money. I offered him everything I could think of to just stop the situation. I said, 'I'm begging you' at one point."

Holloway quoted Goodridge's response. "You're not begging. Get on your f--king knees if you're begging."

He said he knelt and begged Goodridge to stop.

"I was really afraid for my life at this point. I asked him not to hurt me. I told him I had kids and I wanted to go home to my kids."

Goodridge told him he didn't care.

Holloway stood up. By then, Derksen was dead.

'Something inside of me snapped'

As Holloway watched, Goodridge approached the body and said, "Don't worry, man. I'm a paramedic. I'm here to help."

He said Goodridge reached into his victim's abdomen and cut off an organ that was pale and covered in blood.

"He held it above his head and lowered it into his mouth," Holloway said softly on the witness stand.

"Something inside of me snapped at that point," he said. "I was in a daze. Shock. I wasn't thinking properly anymore."

Holloway got into a truck with three other men who were waiting, and they drove away.

'All I saw was rage'

Like other witnesses that night, electrician Timothy Brassard was awakened by screaming outside his room.

"I could hear a guy running down the hallway, and he was yelling, 'I've been stabbed,' " Brassard testified.

When he opened his door, he saw Derksen holding his neck, bleeding profusely.

He said Derksen told him, "He stabbed me. He stabbed me. The cook stabbed me."

Goodridge came rushing in and ran into Brassard's room, still with the knife.

"I was terrified," Brassard said. "All I saw was rage. I haven't seen that kind of intensity and rage before.

"I was scared for my life."

Brassard pushed Goodridge out of the room and locked the door. He heard running and thought Goodridge was after Derksen again.

"I chose to not step out into that hallway," Brassard admitted. "I couldn't do anything.

"I would have done the best I could for him but I knew he wasn't going to survive that night. So I protected myself."

Hally Dubois, 50, made a different choice. She ran down the hall toward the stabbing. Brassard watched her throw a gold comforter over Goodridge's shoulders as she begged him to stop using the knife.

He said he saw Goodridge make a backwards stabbing motion. Dubois toppled over. An autopsy later revealed she suffered 11 cuts and stab wounds.

Brassard barricaded himself in his room again. He pushed a couch against the door for extra protection. For more than an hour he leaned against the door, adrenaline coursing through his body.

The work camp kitchen was one of the areas set on fire on June 30, 2015. (RCMP/Court exhibit )

Smoke alarms went off and smoke began to seep into his room.

"He had lit the place on fire," Brassard said. "My thoughts were, he's trying to burn us all out."

Brassard ran for his truck. The moment he got into the driver's seat and locked the door, Goodridge appeared at the driver's side window.

"At this point I was shaking like a leaf," he said. "All I could do is to get out of there."

Brassard started to drive off, with Goodridge hanging onto the driver's side door. After about 30 metres, Goodridge couldn't keep up.

When Brassard got farther down the road, a pair of RCMP cruisers stopped him.

The work camp is about 50 kilometres southwest of Fox Creek.

The trial continues Wednesday with testimony scheduled from an Edmonton forensic psychiatrist, who is expected to tell Court of Queen's Bench Justice Ken Nielsen if he thinks Goodridge should be found not criminally responsible for his actions.

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston