The Hamilton Spectator

‘Message was not to talk to police’

Officer met with resistance from witnesses on scene of May 2019 homicide


The time-stamp on the security video taken outside a Chinese food restaurant reads 2:59 a.m.

The camera records in infrared mode, couching images in stark shades of black, grey and white.

A man bolts out the door of a club that opens onto King Street East, running into traffic, jumping back to narrowly avoid an SUV heading through the intersecti­on at East Avenue North.

A Hamilton police forensic video analyst testifying Thursday did not identify the man by name in the frame, but the Crown has told the jury in the first-degree murder trial that Carel Douse fled three men from that after-hours club, at that very moment, after having been stabbed inside.

Douse’s longtime girlfriend, Jennifer Clark, stared at the video on a big screen in court, sitting motionless two rows behind the prisoner’s box where the co-accused, Daniel Wise and Alieu Jeng, watched on their monitor.

The jury has heard that less than five minutes later that morning, Douse was found on the porch of a house about 200 metres away on East Avenue North. The Crown says Douse was stabbed a total of 19 times.

Court heard Thursday that a police officer first on the scene bent over the fatally wounded man, close to his face, asking him to give a name.

“I asked him repeatedly, ‘Who did this to you? Do you know who they were?’ ” said Const. Lucas Cadet-Herchenrod­er on the witness stand. “I believed I was watching him die ... I asked if the ambulance could step it up.”

Douse said nothing to him in reply.

The police officer said the victim had a deep laceration to his face but there was not much blood visible, even as his breathing was “extremely shallow, very slow.”

Cadet-Herchenrod­er said Douse’s eyes moved lazily and looked away from the police officer, toward a woman who was cradling his head, before he appeared to lose consciousn­ess.

The woman, who tried in vain to move Douse, refused to give the officer her name, he said, or answer any questions — an attitude, he told the jury, he continued to experience from individual­s in a crowd that had gathered near the house.

“There was a lot of shouting and noise and people asking what was happening and who was involved,"he said."They

w not talking to (police), and telling others: ‘Don’t talk to them; We don’t talk to them.’ I remember being a bit upset and disappoint­ed they didn’t want to work with us. The message, the consensus, was to not talk to the police.”

Cadet-Herchenrod­er, who arrived at the house at 3:04 a.m., said he helped firefighte­rs who were next on the scene cut away the multiple layers of shirts Douse was wearing, with paramedics arriving soon after and immediatel­y loading him onto a stretcher.

Ultimately, he said, three women in the crowd did offer observatio­ns and provide their names to him.

The trial completed its first week and will resume Monday with the defence cross-examin

ing Cadet-Herchenrod­er.

The video evidence presented by the forensic video analyst, Mike Preocanin, showed the jury footage from multiple streetmoun­ted security cameras that showed three men chasing another man that night, from the after-hours club and briefly up East Avenue North.

The footage also showed three men recorded inside a taxi in the moments after Douse was found on the porch, and also entering Big Bear convenienc­e store at 82 Wellington St. N. at 3:04 a.m., and Select Convenienc­e at 54 Queen St. S. at 3:23 a.m.

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