'I told him I loved him': Widow's emotional last moments with Larry Wellman revealed in court

The Brandon Phillips first-degree murder trial continues Friday, with the widow of victim Larry Wellman giving emotional testimony about the night Wellman died.

Linda McBay didn't see weapon or ID suspect, jury told

Linda McBay takes the stand at Brandon Phillips first-degree murder trial at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Friday. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

She knew things were critical when a nurse at St. Clare's Hospital handed her a plastic bag containing her husband's wedding ring. 

The nurse told her it was because her husband's fingers may swell and the ring could get stuck.

But Linda McBay knew it was much worse.

McBay would later get to say 'I love you,' to her husband, Larry Wellman. But it was too late.

Wellman's widow testified at the first-degree murder trial for Brandon Phillips at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court Friday.

She took off her glasses and wiped away tears as she recalled the horrific details of the night Wellman, her husband of 11 years, died.

Just one more drink

Wellman, 63, and McBay lived in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, but were in St. John's on a house hunting trip on Oct. 3, 2015, the 12-person jury was told.

The two had decided to get food and drinks at the hotel bar.

He was bleeding and there was blood running down his face, and I just knew he had to be hit in the head.- Linda McBay

McBay testified she was ready to leave, but Wellman said he'd grab them their last drink first.

It was at the bar that Wellman would first encounter the man who'd later kill him.

McBay said she saw the armed robber when she approached the bar to see what was taking so long.

"He had his arms straight in front of him," she said, lifting her two arms, clasping her hands in the front.

The robber's hood was down over his face, she said. McBay would later tell police he had fair skin and blonde hair.

Police tape surrounding the bar of Captain's Quarters Hotel the day after Larry Wellman, 63, was shot during an armed robbery on Oct. 3, 2015. (Jeremy Eaton/CBC)

She called her husband's name, and when he turned around she noticed something strange.

"He was bleeding and there was blood running down his face, and I just knew he had to be hit in the head," she said. "Because it was a lot of blood."

McBay recalled running up to her husband during the struggle with the gunman and grabbing his coat.

"I was just trying to get him ... we gotta go... I grabbed him by the jacket and then we were on the floor," McBay said.

"There was blood everywhere."

McBay testified she never saw a weapon.

'I told him I loved him'

McBay's recollection after police arrived is hazy. Her attention, she said, was focused on her dying husband.

Paramedics rushed Wellman, who had been on a turnaround from his job at Churchill Falls, to St. Clare's Mercy Hospital just a short distance away.

"I didn't have a chance to see him. They were wheeling him down the corridor and there was someone on top of him doing CPR," McBay said.

Everyone in the courtroom was frozen as jurors fixated on McBay's account of her last moments with her husband.

Linda McBay, wife of murder victim Larry Welllman, testifies in the Brandon Phillips first-degree murder trial on Friday in St. John's. (CBC/Fred Hutton)

As she waited for word on her husband, who had been rushed to surgery, a nurse passed her a plastic bag with his ring in it, McBay said, her eyes flicking from the courtroom ceiling to the back wall.

Wellman would later die in hospital.

"I told him that I loved him."

When it was the defence's turn for cross-examination, Mark Gruchy said he had no questions.

"Sorry for your loss," he said.

Video from the bar at the Captain's Quarters Hotel was the first piece of evidence presented Thursday.

Brandon Phillips, 29, is on trial for first-degree murder in the shooting death of Larry Wellman on Oct. 3, 2015. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

Brandon Phillips, 29, is charged with first-degree murder, armed robbery, committing an offence while disguised, assault with a weapon and carrying a firearm without a licence in connection with the October 2015 incident.

The trial is expected to last six weeks.

Want to follow the latest from the trial? Check out our live blog.


Read CBC NL's previous coverage of the trial:

About the Author

Ariana Kelland


Ariana Kelland is a reporter with the CBC Newfoundland and Labrador bureau in St. John's.

With files from Fred Hutton