Accused in Johnson murder case was at scene for drug deal: lawyer
Happenstance placed man at shooting, court told
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.