Nfld. & Labrador

Thought I was about to witness Kenny Green's death, guard tells trial

Another prison guard has testified that he thought inmate Kenny Green was going to be killed before his eyes during a now-infamous chapel riot at Her Majesty's Penitentiary.
We take you step by step through the HMP riot on Feb. 9, 2014 5:22

Another prison guard has testified that he thought inmate Kenny Green was going to be killed before his eyes during a now-infamous chapel riot at Her Majesty's Penitentiary.

Scot O'Neill testified Monday on what he observed on Feb. 9, when Green — a convicted killer who is believed to have been a target in retaliation for the death of Joey Whalen — was beaten by a group of fellow inmates. 

Jody Clarke, Justin Harvey and Calvin Kenny are being tried for participating in a riot and assault causing bodily harm.

In an image from surveillance video, correctional officer Scot O'Neill can be seen pulling inmates from Kenny Green during an attack at HMP's chapel. (CBC)

O'Neill told court he was in another room watching a video monitor when he saw an inmate in the prison chapel run towards a surveillance camera with a towel.

O'Neill said he ran immediately to the chapel, which is usually sparsely attended for services.

That day, the chapel was standing-room only, and by the time O'Neill arrived, there was mayhem — the sounds of yelling and screaming, then the sight of broken pews and a full-on attack against Green.

O'Neill, who testified that he saw blood over the fall and walls, said he yelled for the attackers to stop, but to no avail.

O'Neill said he thought that the gang of inmates were about to kill Green.

Broken pew used as weapon

O'Neill said he saw inmate Paul Connolly strike Green in the head twice with a broken pew. On the surveillance video played in court, O'Neill can be seen going to Connolly and trying to pull him away. Connolly pleaded guilty earlier this year and was given a sentence of an additional two years.

Guard Scot O'Neill can be seen trying to stop Paul Connolly from using a pew to strike Kenny Green. (CBC)

O'Neill can also be seen jumping on Kenny. O'Neill testified that he thought Kenny was stabbing Green, but said he could not actually see a weapon.

By the end of the attack, Green was covered in blood, his back riddled with puncture wounds.

O'Neill said there had been talk in the penitentiary that Green would be the target of a hit, and that there was money on his head.

Because of that, Green had been kept in a special handling unit for his own protection.

But O'Neill said Green, who would be sentenced in May to six years for manslaughter in the Tessier Place beating death of Whalen, did not believe the prison chatter. Green got his lawyer to have him moved back to the general population.

O'Neill said he did not know there was a plan to attack Green in the chapel, and if the prison administration knew it, the guards should have been told.

He also said he has been asking himself if he was crazy to go into the chapel that day.

O'Neill told the court that he has nightmares about the attack. In some of them, he said, he is the one who is being assaulted.

now