Two wit­nesses put Nev­er­son at scene of vi­o­lent rob­beries

Montreal Gazette - - CITY - PAUL CH ERRY pcherry@ postmed

Two wit­nesses who tes­ti­fied late this week in the trial of Sep­ti­mus Nev­er­son, charged with car­ry­ing out 13 home in­va­sions, were able to place the ac­cused at the scene of two of the more vi­o­lent rob­beries of which he stands ac­cused.

Nev­er­son, 56, is al­leged to have car­ried out the home in­va­sions, be­tween 2006 and 2009, in var­i­ous parts of the Mon­treal Is­land and in Laval. H e faces a to­tal of 54 charges in­clud­ing the first-de­gree mur­der of a man who was killed in Laval and three at­tempted mur­ders.

The trial, be­fore a judge alone, is ex­pected to last un­til De­cem­ber and for the first two weeks most wit­nesses who saw or even spoke to the armed rob­ber who en­tered their home had dif­fi­culty de­scrib­ing him be­cause, in each case, the cul­prit’s face was cov­ered. That changed on Thurs­day when Const. Martin Ther­rien — the Mon­treal po­lice of­fi­cer who kicked in the front door of a home on De Nancy St., while a rob­ber was in the process of ter­ror­iz­ing a fam­ily in Côte-des-Neiges — saw part of the man’s face when he used a 10-yearold boy as a hu­man shield to make his even­tual get­away.

On Fri­day, François Pagé, the fourth per­son Nev­er­son is al­leged to have shot, tes­ti­fied how he was even­tu­ally able to iden­tify the man who shot him in the hip in his home on Parthenais St. in the Ahuntsic-Cartierville bor­ough in 2009.

Pagé and his wife, An­drée Bérubé, were watch­ing tele­vi­sion in the base­ment of their du­plex with their 16-year-old daugh­ter when he headed up­stairs for a snack. Pagé said he con­fronted the rob­ber and was shot af­ter ask­ing what he was do­ing. In her tes­ti­mony, Bérubé added a chill­ing de­tail: Just 10 min­utes ear­lier, their daugh­ter had been watch­ing tele­vi­sion up­stairs alone. Bérubé said she didn’t like the idea of her teenage daugh­ter watch­ing tele­vi­sion on her own and in­vited her down­stairs with her par­ents.

Pagé ended up spend­ing three weeks in a hos­pi­tal “in un­bear­able pain and on heavy med­i­ca­tion” while he re­cov­ered.

While tes­ti­fy­ing on Fri­day, Pagé said the rob­ber wore a ban­dana over his mouth and a tuque. H e was able to see the man’s eyes and some­thing clicked, six years later, when he saw the mug shot in a story about how Nev­er­son had been ar­rested in Trinidad and Tobago. Pagé said some­thing about that photo re­minded him that the rob­ber who shot him had a lazy eye.

“H is eyes weren’t able to fo­cus straight, like how Iam look­ing at you now, Your H onour,” Pagé told Jus­tice G uy Cournoyer. “It’s hard to de­scribe, but his eyes weren’t nor­mal.”

Two months ear­lier, on July 18, 2009, Const. Ther­rien was one of the first of­fi­cers who ar­rived af­ter H ar­ri­son Thyr­iar was shot in­side his own home, al­legedly by Nev­er­son. Ther­rien saw the part of the rob­ber’s face for a few sec­onds.

A brand new lad­der left at the crime scene, un­der a win­dow, was tracked down. Three had been pur­chased at Réno Depôt stores in the Mon­treal area in prior weeks. A re­view of se­cu­rity cam­era footage turned up images of a man who turned out to be Nev­er­son pur­chas­ing the lad­der with cash.

Ther­rien was shown pho­tos cap­tured from the footage a few weeks af­ter the rob­bery. Then, sev­eral years later, he was able to pick Nev­er­son’s mug shot out of a photo ar­ray that in­cluded mug shots of seven other men. Ther­rien con­ceded he is not cer­tain he would have been able to pick Nev­er­son’s photo out of the lineup with­out hav­ing seen the photo of Nev­er­son in­side the hard­ware store.

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