Ryan White's shooting described during Kale Leonard Gabriel murder trial
More details emerging in murder trial about killing of Halifax man, 21
More details are emerging about the night nearly six years ago when Ryan Matthew White was gunned down in north-end Halifax.
Kale Leonard Gabriel, 27, is charged with second-degree murder in White's death. His judge and jury trial is underway in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.
Randall Samson is one of the people who witnessed the shooting.
He and White, 21, had been travelling through the Mulgrave Park area on foot when they encountered Gabriel and a couple of other men.
In court this morning in Halifax, Samson demonstrated how White and Gabriel were struggling just before the shooting. With Gabriel's lawyer Geoff Newton playing the role of White, Samson showed how White was doubled over with his hands on Gabriel's chest, trying to push him away.
Samson said Gabriel had one arm around White's neck. Samson said he clearly saw Gabriel reach into his right pocket, take out a handgun and shoot White in the chest.
Samson said he didn't get a very good look at the gun, but he described it as copper-coloured and rusty.
The first witness to testify at Gabriel's trial, Durrell Bundy, said the gun used to shoot White was silver and shiny.
Samson told court that after White was shot, the other people scattered. Samson said White spoke to him.
"I'm going to die," Samson quoted White as saying.
Samson said White asked him to kill Kale Gabriel. Samson said he retrieved a sawed-off shotgun he'd concealed in a shrub, and set off in search of Gabriel.
Samson said he caught up to Gabriel, but then saw a light in a nearby house.
"I got paranoid and thought I would be seen," Samson testified. He decided not to kill Gabriel. He said he returned to the scene of the shooting about ten minutes later and saw police and a small crowd gathered there.
Samson said he hid the shotgun at his grandmother's house, then went to the hospital to check on White's condition. White died the next day in hospital.
Did not come forward right away
Samson admitted under cross-examination by Newton that he did not immediately come forward to report what he witnessed that night. Samson also disputed Newton's suggestion that he returned to Mulgrave Park the next day with a gun and another man to threaten people into not talking about the shooting. Samson said he did return to the area but he was not armed.
The next witness was supposed to be Marcus Verreault. But as he was being led into court, he loudly announced he wasn't going to testify. He was promptly arrested and taken to cells in the basement of the courthouse.
A short time later, Verreault signalled he had changed his mind. He was returned to court. But when he asked by the crown if he saw Kale Gabriel in the courtroom, Verreault said no. Gabriel was seated at the side of the courtroom, flanked by two sheriff's deputies when Verreault issued his denial.
According to Durrell Bundy's testimony earlier in the week, Verreault was the man who burst into a house where Gabriel and others were sitting, saying he was being pursued by two men dressed all in black. Those two men were White and Samson.
But in court today, Verreault denied being anywhere near the shooting scene that night.
Verreault repeatedly said "I don't remember," to a series of Crown questions. He was returned to the basement cells but released a short time later.
First officer on the scene
Halifax Regional Police officer Stacey Opalka was one of the first officers on the scene the night of the shooting. She told court this morning that as she got out of her car and walked towards the scene of the shooting she could smell gunpowder. She said at that point, she knew it was "the real deal" and she became hyper-vigilant.
She described the scene and White's condition. She said he was lying on the ground and his breathing was laboured. Opalka said she did not see a weapon.
Opalka was asked to identify the gunshot wound from an autopsy photo of White. Justice Jamie Campbell cautioned jurors that "These are the kinds of photos you've never seen before and hopefully will never see again."
Five weeks have been set aside for this trial but lawyers expect it will take less time than that.