Man tells Twitchell jury of attack in garage

Gilles Tetreault testified at Mark Twitchell's murder trial in Edmonton that discovering the gun held by his masked attacker was fake "was the best feeling I ever felt in my life."

Warning: This story contains graphic and disturbing details

Gilles Tetreault, left, approaches the Edmonton courthouse accompanied by Det. Bill Clark on Friday before testifying at the trial of aspiring filmmaker Mark Twitchell. (CBC)

Gilles Tetreault testified at Mark Twitchell's first-degree murder trial in Edmonton that discovering the gun held by his masked attacker was fake "was the best feeling I ever felt in my life."

Twitchell, 31, is accused of killing Johnny Altinger, 38, on Oct. 10, 2008. The Crown believes Twitchell, an aspiring filmmaker, lured Altinger to a rented garage in south Edmonton by posing as a woman on an online dating site.

The Crown also maintains Altinger was bludgeoned, stabbed and dismembered under similar circumstances as the attack on Tetreault, who testified Friday.

Tetreault told jurors he went to a southside garage after making arrangements with someone through an online dating service. He was to meet a woman named Sheena for a dinner and movie date on Oct. 3, 2008.

Through email, he was directed to reach the house through the garage.

After he arrived, he was attacked from behind by a man in a goalie mask. He was struck in the head repeatedly.

"Right then and there, that's when I figured that this was no date," Tetreault testified.

The two struggled until the attacker pulled a gun and put duct tape across Tetreault's eyes. Tetreault then decided he needed to fight for his life.

'I'd better fight back'

"I got very scared," he told the jurors, who were listening, riveted by his testimony. "I decided I'd better fight back.

"I decided I'd rather die my way than his way."

He grabbed at the gun in the man's hand and began to fight, and that's when he discovered the gun wasn't a real one.

Tetreault described struggling, getting away and being dragged back into the garage by his legs one more time.  

He finally broke free, rolling out of the garage.

He stumbled into a couple walking by the garage and begged for help. 

Twitchell followed him out, but returned to the garage.  

The couple who stopped walked away, but there was enough time for him to run for his truck. 

He said he wasn't thinking straight and did not think to call police.

Tetrault later told a friend about the attack. On Nov. 2, 2008, the friend told Tetreault about a news story regarding an investigation where police were looking for a previous victim. Tetreault then called police. 

Tetreault's testimony matched the account the jury has seen in a document that the prosecution calls Twitchell's diary.

The trial, in its third week, will resume Monday.

With files from Janice Johnston and Briar Stewart