Nova Scotia

Bound in back of a car, man who was shot in cemetery played dead to survive

Court documents provide new details of what happened the night Tylor McInnis was shot to death, his body left in the trunk of a car. They also reveal the terrifying ordeal suffered by a second victim, Liam Thompson.

Court documents detail what allegedly happened the night Tylor McInnis died and another man was shot

Police are seen at St. Thomas Baptist Church cemetery on Aug. 25, 2016, during the investigation into Tylor McInnis's death. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

A bleeding Liam Thompson pretended to be dead as he lay in the back seat of his car in a Halifax-area cemetery, his hands bound with a dog leash, waiting for whoever had shot him and fatally wounded his friend to finally leave.

The terrifying scenario is outlined in new police documents related to the homicide last Aug. 23 of Tylor McInnis, whose body was found in the trunk of a black Honda at St. Thomas Baptist Church cemetery in North Preston.

Three people are charged with first-degree murder in the 26-year-old man's death.

The documents — a warrant to collect evidence in the case — say Thompson was not forthcoming with officers during two police interviews, but he told family members in a "fragmented" way what happened after he crawled out of the woods injured the next morning.

Family members recounted that story to police.

Thompson felt uneasy

The documents filed in provincial court say Thompson agreed to give McInnis, with whom he was friends, a drive out to North Preston the night of the shootings. Thompson said he didn't know why his friend wanted to go.

Thompson said they drove to a house where there were four or five people he didn't know in a part of North Preston he wasn't familiar with.

He later told family members he began to feel uneasy.

There was talk about jewelry, said Thompson, and he saw a gun on one of the men.

The documents say a witness told police McInnis was hit over the head with a gun and began running away down the street, pursued by three men.

Thompson said he was pulled out of the car, pushed into the back seat and hog-tied.

Shot grazed shoulder

Tylor McInnis, 26, of Halifax was found dead Aug. 23, 2016. (Facebook)

According to the documents, Thompson said someone else drove his car and they made at least one stop. He told his family he heard gunshots.

He was then driven to what he later learned was a cemetery. He told family members two shots were fired at him, one grazing his shoulder.

"Liam said he thought he was dead because he felt terrible pain," one family member told police, according to the documents.

"Liam said he continued to hear voices, so he tried to pretend he was dead."

He later got out of the car and went into nearby woods to hide from his attackers who he thought were looking for him. 

Thompson eventually emerged the next morning and found the home of a family member.

Car reported stolen

RCMP found a black Honda in the cemetery. It had been reported stolen. (Dave Laughlin/CBC)

The documents say Thompson initially called a non-emergency police number to report his car stolen. It was found in the cemetery a short time later.

CBC could not reach Thompson for an interview, but a close family member said he was unlikely to comment.

Part of the police case has been built on a sworn statement given by a man who said he witnessed and participated in part of what happened.

The witness has not been charged. CBC has agreed not to identify him as RCMP and the Crown attorney prosecuting the case said Friday they have concerns for his safety.

Robbery planned

According to the documents, the witness told police that McInnis wanted to exchange drugs for a gun, but one of the suspects who is charged with murder planned to rob him instead.

When McInnis arrived, one of the men told him to call some friends and ask them to bring jewelry.

The witness told police he was the one who tied up Thompson and put him in the back seat, but he did not see McInnis being shot.

He said he rode as a passenger in Thompson's car when it was driven to the cemetery with McInnis's body in the trunk. It was there, he said, that Thompson was shot.

None of the allegations has been proven in court.

5 face charges

McInnis's brother, Cowan McInnis, declined to comment Monday on the new details of the case. But in an August interview, he called his older brother a good man who would "give anyone the shirt off his back."

Shawntez Neco Downey, Daniel Romeo Downey and Nicco Alexander Smith are all charged with first-degree murder in McInnis's death. 

Judson Lemar Falls and a 17-year-old male — whose identity is protected by a publication ban — are charged with accessory after the fact. Shawntez Neco Downey is also charged with attempted murder.

Preliminary inquiries for the adults are scheduled for June.