Nfld. & Labrador

Philip Pynn, Averill Baker shared 'passionate kiss' before arrest

A well-known St. John's lawyer kissed her then-client Philip Pynn moments before he was arrested as part of a murder investigation, a Supreme Court jury heard Monday.
Police who had Averill Baker's house under surveillance observed her kissing Philip Pynn, who at the time was her client, just before he was arrested in 2011. (CBC)

A well-known St. John's lawyer kissed her then-client Philip Pynn moments before he was arrested as part of a murder investigation, a Supreme Court jury heard Monday.

Sgt. Hubert Marrie with the Royal Newfoundland Constabulary had Averill Baker's King's Bridge Road apartment under surveillance on July 11, 2011, just two days after Nick Winsor was shot to death on Portugal Cove Road. 

Philip Pynn, seen at Supreme Court during a break in his trial, is charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder. (CBC)

"I guess you could describe it as a passionate kiss," Marrie said during Philip Pynn and Lyndon Butler's second-degree murder trial.

Marrie, who was part of the RNC's mobile surveillance unit, said police arrived outside Baker's home shortly after midnight, and were on the scene until Pynn's arrest that afternoon. 

During that time, Marrie said Baker left the premises just once: at 2:30 p.m., she drove to Scotiabank to withdraw a set of $20 bills and then to pick up a takeout order at Swiss Chalet on Aberdeen Avenue.  

At 4:00 p.m. that afternoon, Marrie observed Baker leaving her house again — this time with a man.

"She was followed by Philip Pynn. He closed the door," Marrie said. 

The officer testified that once outside, Baker kissed Pynn "lips-on-lips."

Tactical unit called in before arrest

The court heard that Baker had told the police before Pynn's arrest that he would go willingly to RNC headquarters. 

However, the RNC brought in its tactical unit  to wait outside because of several factors, such as the gravity of the charges that would be awaiting Pynn, the fact the weapon has never been found and that Pynn was considered a hisk-risk offender. 

During Pynn's arrest, Marrie said he witnessed Baker fall to the ground in her driveway, crying hysterically. 

"I went over and talked to her," Marrie said. "I tried to console her." 

While appearing for a separate court matter on Monday, Baker offered no comment on Marrie's testimony.

"I'm so sorry that I can't comment on that," she told reporters.

Pynn's sister under surveillance

The day before Pynn's arrest, Marrie and his surveillance team were tasked with locating Pynn.

To do that, Marrie said he searched for Pynn's friends and family, and also went to known areas in St. John's where drugs were sold. 

Marrie said he found Pynn's sister, Felicia Pynn, on Froude Avenue in St. John's on July 10, 2011 and began to follow her.

While driving, Pynn along with an unnamed female driver were observed doing what Marrie called "heat checks," to see if they were being followed.

Marrie told the court the women were doing U-turns, constantly checking behind them, looking in the vehicle's mirrors and stopping on the sides of the road for no apparent reason. 

Marrie testified that Felicia Pynn went to Baker's house twice that day. 

Before visiting the second time, she was seen getting a package from a woman on Campbell Avenue, then bringing it to Baker's King's Bridge Road apartment.

Butler's arrest

Sgt. Marrie said he was also involved in finding Pynn's co-accused Lyndon Butler. 

Marrie testified that on July 13, 2011, he and officers with the mobile unit that watched Butler's parents' house on Hollyberry Drive in Paradise. 

The officers observed Butler get in his Mazda Protege and drive to Michener Drive in Mount Pearl where he was arrested for breaching his parole condition and taken to RNC headquarters. 

Marrie told jurors that Butler said,"There's more to this than a f--king parole warrant," while in the elevator at the RNC. 

Butler was later charged with second-degree murder and attempted murder, along with other lesser charges. 

About the Author

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