Dwight Ball's apartment, cars watched as daughter tracked during Phillips murder investigation

Jurors at the first-degree murder trial of Brandon Phillips are hearing from crime scene analysts as the Crown begins to wrap up its case.

Jade Ball, Brandon Phillips under surveillance by RNC after shooting at Captain's Quarters in 2015

Surveillance of Brandon Phillips, right, included his girlfriend at the time, Jade Ball, left. (Facebook)

Brandon Phillips and then-girlfriend Jade Ball were watched by members of the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary's surveillance unit for days after a fatal shooting at Captain's Quarters Hotel.

Const. Gregory Greeley of the RNC was tasked with surveillance of several "targets," primarily Phillips and Jade Ball, daughter of Premier Dwight Ball. 

Greeley took the stand Wednesday at the first-degree murder trial for Phillips at Supreme Court in St. John's.

A pair of black Nike Air Jordan sneakers were found under a couch and futon at 30A Quidi Vidi Rd. on Oct. 10, 2015. (Royal Newfoundland Constabulary)

Greeley told the jury he was told to watch 30A Quidi Vidi Rd., a "target residence" a short distance away from the hotel where Larry Wellman was shot and killed Oct. 3, 2015.

On Oct. 7, Greeley said, he observed Jade Ball and Phillips entering the house on Quidi Vidi Road.

Officer stationed outside premier's apartment

"The target [Phillips] stopped at the door and took out a set of keys to gain entry to the home on Quidi Vidi Road," he told the jury.

On Oct. 12, Greeley was stationed outside of the Tiffany, a building on Tiffany Lane, where Dwight Ball has an apartment. At the time, Dwight Ball was not premier, but was in the lead up to an election campaign.

"You are surveying Dwight Ball's residence and Dwight Ball's vehicle," defence lawyer Mark Gruchy said to the officer.

An RNC surveillance unit was tasked with watching Jade Ball and Brandon Phillips at Dwight Ball's apartment at The Tiffany, on Tiffany Lane, in St. John's. (CBC)

"Two of them — also a black Audi," Greeley said. The other was a 2011 White Audi.

At one point, the surveillance team was tailing a white Audi registered to Dwight Ball. Greeley testified that Jade Ball, Phillips and an unknown man were in the vehicle but the RNC team lost sight of it.

The jury also heard Jade Ball remained under police surveillance for three days after her boyfriend was arrested for the shooting death of Wellman. 

Second man watched in days after shooting

Gruchy pointed out that the surveillance team was also watching a second man — John Squires — in the days after the shooting, and that Squires was a known criminal.

Greeley insisted he did not know why he was tasked to follow these people, only that it was needed for an investigation.

Gruchy asked about other people who were watched as part of the investigation. 

RNC Const. Cynthia Crocker, forensic identification officer, collected evidence at 30A Quidi Vidi Road, seized a hat found on Forest Avenue, and took a DNA sample from a suspect. (Fred Hutton/CBC)

Greeley said other people were seen going into the house on Quidi Vidi Road, where police would later find a shotgun and sneakers containing Phillips's and Wellman's DNA. 

But Greeley said only one person was seen having keys to the house, and that was Phillips.

Jade Ball 'person of interest'

Const. Cynthia Crocker, who attended both scenes at the Captain's Quarters and Quidi Vidi Road, took the stand after Greeley.

She was tasked with collecting evidence at the home on Quidi Vidi Road where many crucial pieces of evidence were found. 

During cross-examination, Jeff Brace pressed Crocker on alternative suspects.

Brandon Phillips, 29, during his trial at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court. (Ariana Kelland/CBC)

Brace said that Jade Ball was a "person of interest" and that police collected a cast-off (cigarette butt, chewing gum, etc.) containing her DNA.

Brace questioned why it was collected but was never sent for analysis. A DNA sample was also taken from another man, the jury was told, but was never sent away.

"It was just left ... for us to wonder," Brace said.

Crocker said they didn't test it because at that point they had evidence piling up against Phillips, including items found at the address on Quidi Vidi Road and DNA evidence. 

"What you're telling me is that because information came back that was useful for the Phillips investigation we're not going to see it," Brace said. 

"Mr. Wellman's blood was on Phillips's shoe," she answered.

Bartender expected to testify Thursday

Dwight Ball did receive notice that he may have to testify at trial. But the Crown, which will wrap up its case this week, will not call Ball to the stand. 

Phillips, 29, has been on trial for the last two and a half weeks at Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court in St. John's.

Family members of shooting victim Larry Wellman have sat through every day of proceedings, which have been both emotional and technical.

Janet Hutchings, the woman who was tending bar at the Captain's Quarters Hotel on Oct. 3, 2015, is expected to testify on Thursday.

She will likely be the last witness for the Crown.

Wellman, 63, was shot while trying to thwart a masked gunman at the hotel's bar. He died later in hospital. 

Follow the latest from the trial on our live blog. Can't see on mobile? Click here. 

So far in the trial, the jury has:

About the Author

Ariana Kelland


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