Ottawa

Accused ex-Mountie only defence witness in Ottawa murder trial

The defence has rested after only one witness, accused former Mountie Kevin Gregson, who was also cross-examined Friday at his murder trial.

Defence rests and judge tells jury ex-Mountie's fate could be in their hands Tuesday

A former Saskatchewan Mountie was pressed on Friday at an Ottawa murder trial on the weapons and body armour he had the night Ottawa police officer Eric Czapnik was killed.

Kevin Gregson, 45, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Czapnik, 51, who was stabbed outside the Civic Campus of the Ottawa Hospital in the early morning of Dec. 29, 2009.

Crown attorney Brian Holowka asked Gregson why he was dressed in black while wearing two bulletproof vests and carrying two knives and a BB gun when he stabbed Czapnik.

Gregson said it was part of his training and his actions the night of the slaying were "primal" and "instinctive." He also said he "wasn't thinking" but just "being."

Holowka also posed a series of questions to Gregson about his personal life, including an alleged sexual assault — going to court in September — his dismissal from the RCMP and his financial struggles.

Holowka also wanted to know about Gregson's argument with his wife the night the former RCMP officer stabbed Czapnik.

But Gregson claimed he had "memory deficiency" of the interrogation video being played in court, which is when he mentioned the argument. He later said he remembered admitting to carjacking an Ottawa couple in the video.

'I killed him, I didn't murder him'

Gregson seemed annoyed Friday, the CBC's Giacomo Panico reported, which was a different tone from the day before. He also referred to his desire to commit suicide on the steps of the Saskatchewan legislature, before choosing the Centennial Flame on Parliament Hill.

This comes a day after Gregson admitted he killed Czapnik, while also insisting he didn't "murder" him.

In rambling testimony Thursday, Gregson admitted to fatally stabbing Czapnik but said he stabbed him out of "instinct" during a struggle for Czapnik's gun.

Const. Eric Czapnik died after he was stabbed in the neck on Dec. 29, 2009. (Ottawa Police Service)

"Eric Czapnik, the police officer I killed, he was a good man," Gregson said in the Ottawa courtroom. "I killed him, I didn't murder him.

"This should have been a manslaughter charge, not murder … I didn't murder him. I waited two years, two months, eight days to tell you that."

The defence has not disputed that Gregson stabbed Czapnik, and in this case, premeditation or planning do not influence the charge because killing a police officer is automatically deemed first-degree murder.

Gregson has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, as well as to a charge of robbery in relation to a carjacking the night before the stabbing.

Confessed to robbery during interrogation

During a police interrogation shown in court earlier this week, Gregson admitted to stealing the car police found at the hospital parking lot.

"Yeah, I carjacked that at the Tim Hortons, I told you guys already," Gregson told Sgt. Tim Hodgins of Ottawa police in the video recorded in December 2009. "I just took it. I see a couple, I say 'I need your car.'"

In court Thursday, Gregson talked about his past, his first marriage and police work, which he said he didn't want to do but needed the work.

He told the court he was trying to get Czapnik's gun so he could shoot himself.

Gregson's trial was expected to last a month but the defence rested after only 10 days. The trial continues Monday and Judge Douglas Rutherford told the jury to expect more evidence.

Rutherford also said he expects Monday to be the last day of proceedings before the jury starts deliberating.