Mur­der trial

Shawn Dee­ley tes­ti­fied at the trial of Bran­don Phillips in St. John’s Tues­day

The Western Star - - FRONT PAGE - BY TARA BRAD­BURY tara.brad­bury@thetele­gram.com Twit­ter: @tara_brad­bury

Shawn Dee­ley says he doesn’t re­mem­ber much any­more about the gun he saw in the hands of a masked rob­ber inside the Cap­tain’s Quar­ters ho­tel two years ago. Dee­ley was the sixth wit­ness to tes­tify for the Crown at the trial of Bran­don Phillips, 29, who is ac­cused of mur­der­ing 63-year-old Larry Well­man, a Corner Brook na­tive, that night in the games room of the Cap­tain’s Quar­ters.

Shawn Dee­ley says he doesn’t re­mem­ber much any­more about the gun he saw in the hands of a masked rob­ber inside the Cap­tain’s Quar­ters ho­tel two years ago.

At the time, he told po­lice it seemed like a 12-gauge pumpaction shot­gun, sawed off with just enough bar­rel left to pump.

Dee­ley, who works in se­cu­rity and is based in Halifax, knows a thing or two about guns. He learned to shoot as a young teenager, as a hunter and as a cadet be­fore join­ing the mil­i­tary.

In St. John’s for work and stay­ing at the Cap­tain’s Quar­ters ho­tel Oct. 3, 2015, Dee­ley had got­ten a Coke at the bar and was go­ing to try his luck at the VLTs. Shortly be­fore mid­night he was in the wash­room when he heard a noise, like wood smack­ing on wood. He came out and headed back to­ward the bar when he saw an­other pa­tron, a man with whom he had chat­ted ear­lier, stand­ing with his back to him. In front of that man was an­other man, dressed in black, wear­ing a balaclava to cover his face. Dee­ley thought it was all some kind of joke un­til the guy lifted the gun. It stopped Dee­ley in his tracks.

He knows what he told po­lice, but to be hon­est, he can’t re­mem­ber the de­tails of what the gun looked like any­more. He only re­mem­bers look­ing down the bar­rel of it.

“I’ll never for­get that,” Dee­ley tes­ti­fied Tues­day morn­ing.

Dee­ley was the sixth wit­ness to tes­tify for the Crown at the trial of Bran­don Phillips, 29, who is ac­cused of mur­der­ing 63-year-old Larry Well­man, a Corner Brook na­tive, that night in the games room of the Cap­tain’s Quar­ters.

Phillips is also charged with armed rob­bery, as­sault with a weapon, pos­sess­ing a weapon dan­ger­ous to the pub­lic, and wear­ing a dis­guise with the in­tent to com­mit a crime. He has pleaded not guilty to all the charges.

In his open­ing remarks at the be­gin­ning of the trial last week, de­fence lawyer Mark Gruchy — who is rep­re­sent­ing Phillips along with lawyer Jeff Brace — told the jury to pay “very, very close at­ten­tion” when it was Dee­ley’s turn to tes­tify, par­tic­u­larly when it came to the gun.

Dee­ley tes­ti­fied he and the gun­man locked eyes for “what seemed like for­ever” be­fore the man took a step back and raised the weapon.

Dee­ley said the gun­man was de­mand­ing money from ho­tel staff, and had got­ten into an al­ter­ca­tion with a pa­tron — iden­ti­fied as Well­man — who was at­tempt­ing to in­ter­vene.

“The gun­man seemed to be al­most scared or con­fused,” Dee­ley said on the stand at New­found­land and Labrador Supreme Court in re­sponse to ques­tion­ing from Crown pros­e­cu­tor Mark Heerema. “His voice cracked. He said, ‘I’m des­per­ate, I’m not leav­ing here with­out money.’ (Well­man) was very clear, very force­ful in his de­mands to leave.”

Dee­ley said he saw Well­man thrust a small ta­ble at the gun­man at the same time the gun­man swung his gun. Dee­ley said he re­mem­bered think­ing some­one was go­ing to get shot, and took out his phone to call for help. He heard the ta­ble and gun con­nect three or four times be­fore hear­ing a pop, he said, and when he looked over, Well­man was grab­bing his ab­domen or groin area and fall­ing to the ground.

“(The gun­man) was tak­ing a step back. I looked at him, he looked at me,” Dee­ley said. “I wanted to make sure he didn’t clear the cham­ber and put a new round in, be­cause I was the only other tar­get there. Once I knew he wasn’t clear­ing the weapon, I was gone.”

Dee­ley said he went back to the bath­room and called 911.

When the rob­ber had left, Dee­ley said, he went to Well­man to try to help him. He asked ho­tel staff for plas­tic bags and tape to try to se­cure Well­man’s gun­shot wound be­fore po­lice and paramedics ar­rived and took over.

Heerema played for Dee­ley the sur­veil­lance video taken that night. Dee­ley, who hadn’t seen it be­fore, iden­ti­fied Well­man and the rob­ber.

On cross-ex­am­i­na­tion, Gruchy ques­tioned Dee­ley about the state­ment he gave to po­lice hours af­ter the shoot­ing, par­tic­u­larly on the de­tails of whether it was Well­man’s ta­ble that struck the rob­ber’s gun or the other way around.

“It’s not a very good thing gen­er­ally when some­one strikes a weapon, is it?” Gruchy asked Dee­ley.

“No,” Dee­ley replied. Gruchy pointed to a sec­tion of Dee­ley’s state­ment to po­lice where he de­scribed the gun­man as not hav­ing con­trol of the weapon and seem­ing sur­prised when the gun went off.

“Watch­ing all this hap­pen, Mr. Dee­ley, did you ever have any con­cerns some­one might ac­ci­den­tally get shot?” Gruchy asked.

“I thought some­one could get shot. I didn’t know if it would be an ac­ci­dent or on pur­pose,” Dee­ley replied.

“But you thought there was the pos­si­bil­ity, with the gun mov­ing around and then bang­ing on the gun, that some­one could ac­ci­den­tally get shot?” Gruchy con­tin­ued.

“Yes,” Dee­ley said. Those who have tes­ti­fied at Phillips’ trial so far in­clude RNC of­fi­cers — in­clud­ing Const. Barry Reynolds, who laid with Well­man to com­fort him in his last mo­ments — and Well­man’s wife of 11 years, Linda McBay, who was with her husband at the Cap­tain’s Quar­ters the night of the shoot­ing.

The trial con­tin­ues today with the prov­ince’s chief med­i­cal ex­am­iner ex­pected to take the stand.

TARA BRAD­BURY/THE TELE­GRAM

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