Captain's Quarters patron testifies locking eyes with robber before shooting
Shawn Deeley recalls hearing hollow sound of 'two inanimate objects hitting each other'
Shawn Deeley was in the bathroom at the bar of the Captain's Quarters Hotel when he heard screams from two women and the sound of "wood smacking on wood," he told the jury at the Brandon Phillips first-degree murder trial Tuesday.
At first, Deeley thought it was a domestic disturbance. But when he got outside he saw a masked man holding a gun.
Deeley, who is from Halifax and was in staying at the hotel for work on Oct. 3, 2015, was the latest Crown witness to take the stand at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court.
The middle-aged man testified he locked eyes with the gunman for what "seemed like forever."
"He [the gunman] was taking a step back. He raised his weapon. I was looking at him and he was looking at me," Deeley told the court.
Gunman's voice cracked: witness
He watched as the armed robber and Larry Wellman, who Deeley referred to as the "retired firefighter," got into an altercation in the bar's pool room.
Wellman swung a small wooden table the same moment the robber swung his gun, he said.
"I thought to myself somebody's gonna get shot," Deeley told the jury.
"The gunman seemed to be almost scared or confused. His voice cracked."
Wellman's commands for the robber to leave the bar, on the other hand, were forceful, Deeley said.
The table and gun connected "three or four times before I heard the pop."
For the first time Tuesday, Deeley watched video surveillance of the incident which ended when Wellman dropped to the ground, the small table coming to rest on the pool table.
Deeley testified he wanted to make sure the gunman didn't clear the chamber to put in more ammunition, because, "I was the only target there."
Once the robber left, he asked the bartender for plastic and tape to try to secure Wellman's gunshot wound, but police arrived before Deeley could start to work on him.
Deeley, who works in security, described the armed robber as about six feet tall and around 200 pounds.
During his opening address last week, defence lawyer Mark Gruchy told the jury to pay specific attention to the attributes of the gun and Deeley's testimony.
Gruchy focused on when Deeley saw the gun and wooden table hitting together during the altercation.
He wanted clarity on if it was the gun smacking off the table or vice versa.
Earlier in the day, Deeley had testified both the gunman and Wellman were swinging the gun and table, respectively.
Gruchy pointed to the statement Deeley provided police at 4 a.m. on Oct. 4, 2015 — four hours after the shooting.
"He [shooter] didn't seem to have control of the weapon ... and I'm thinking to myself, 'I need to get a police officer here,'" Deeley told police at the time.
"He seemed to be stepping backwards, kind of shocked that it [gun] had went off," he added.
Deeley had identified the gun as being a pump-action shotgun.
But on the stand, he said the only thing he remembers is staring down the barrel of it.
Phillips, 29, is charged with first-degree murder in the shooting death of Wellman, 63.
During the first days of the trial, the jury was shown security footage from the bar during the robbery, heard from Wellman's wife about the night her husband was killed and listened to testimony from Const. Barry Reynolds, the police officer who stayed with Wellman during his final moments.
Want to follow the latest from the trial? Check out our live blog.
Read CBC NL's previous coverage of the trial:
- Day 1: Brandon Phillips jury selection begins: What you need to know
- Day 2: Jury taking shape for trial of Brandon Phillips, accused in Captain's Quarters killing
- Day 2: Strategic selection: How the jury is chosen for Brandon Phillips trial
- Day 3: Jury, 2 alternates selected for Brandon Phillips 1st-degree murder trial
- Day 4: 'Nobody be a f--king hero': Chilling video played at Brandon Phillips trial
- Day 5: 'I told him I loved him': Widow's emotional last moments with Larry Wellman revealed in court
- Day 5: Police officer lay in pool of blood to comfort Larry Wellman in last moments
- Opinion: It's OK for cops to cry: A human moment at the Phillips trial
- Day 5: Face in the courtroom: Larry Wellman's childhood friend takes in trial