Ac­cused in Johnson mur­der case was at scene for drug deal: lawyer

Hap­pen­stance placed man at shoot­ing, court told

The Hamilton Spectator - - LOCAL - NATALIE PAD­DON

The lawyer for one of the four men charged with the slay­ing of Tyler Johnson said his client was at the scene the night the McMaster Univer­sity stu­dent was killed for a drug deal — but not a mur­der.

De­fence coun­sel Peter Zaduk told the jury in his clos­ing ar­gu­ments that Joshua Bar­reira showed up out­side a King Street West pita shop around 3 a.m. on Nov. 30, 2013 to pick up his brother, Bran­don, after he called for a ride.

Chad David­son had been bug­ging Joshua Bar­reira to sell him crack ear­lier that evening, so Bar­reira ar­ranged to meet him there at the same time as the pickup to con­duct the deal, Zaduk al­leged.

Bran­don and Josh Bar­reira, David­son and Louis Re­belo are charged with first-de­gree mur­der in the death of Johnson, a 30-yearold en­gi­neer­ing stu­dent who had been out with friends in nearby Hess Vil­lage.

After Joshua Bar­reira ar­rived at the Tim Hor­tons — next to the pita shop at King and Caro­line Street South — David­son hopped in Bar­reira’s Jaguar so his girl­friend, Ash­ley Dore-David­son, wouldn’t see the drug deal take place, Zaduk told court.

Once they pulled out of the park­ing lot, Bar­reira gave David­son some crack but told him he couldn’t smoke it in the ve­hi­cle when he pulled out his crack pipe be­cause “the po­lice could search my ve­hi­cle,” Zaduk al­leged. David­son be­came “para­noid” and ac­cused Bar­reira of rip­ping him off, the lawyer told court.

So when they pulled back into the park­ing lot, the two — with Bran­don along­side as a look­out — got out to in­spect the crack.

When they turned to walk back to their ve­hi­cles, Zaduk said David­son saw Johnson com­ing out of the pita shop and said, “I got a beef with that guy.”

After a brief ex­change, he said Johnson took a swing at David­son, and David­son pulled out a gun and shot him in the ch­est.

“Every­thing hap­pened so fast,” is what Bar­reira said dur­ing a po­lice in­ter­view, Zaduk said.

He ar­gued Bar­reira had no idea David­son had a gun un­til Johnson was shot.

“There’s no ev­i­dence that any­one else knows he’s car­ry­ing one,” Zaduk said. “What­ever prompted him to pull that trigger is in­di­vid­ual to him alone.”

Af­ter­ward, Johnson stum­bled into the vestibule of the Tim Hor­tons and col­lapsed, bleed­ing on the ground.

David­son in­structed Bar­reira to get in the car, be­fore fir­ing two shots to in­tim­i­date him, Zaduk al­leged.

This prompted Bar­reira’s “fear” of David­son, which is partly what mo­ti­vated him to leave town for his mom’s place in Cam­bridge after the mur­der, where he stayed for two days, Zaduk said.

It’s this fear that also prompted Bar­reira and his girl­friend, Jen­nifer Da­ge­nais, to get married along­side David­son and his girl­friend, Dore-David­son, with each cou­ple act­ing as wit­nesses for the other’s union, Zaduk said.

Even though Bar­reira and Da­ge­nais were al­ready en­gaged, he seemed “re­luc­tant” to get married but agreed to it, the lawyer said.

“Josh wanted to keep Chad happy.”

Court re­sumes Thurs­day, when de­fence coun­sel rep­re­sent­ing Re­belo and David­son are ex­pected to close their cases.

Joshua Bar­reira is one of four men charged.

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