The Hamilton Spectator
Witness says she saw knife pulled on Carel Douse inside nightclub
‘It was a knife with a design on it … like a snake or something … that’s when I knew it wasn’t just fists’
The after-hours club that is a key scene in the Carel Douse first-degree murder trial was a barbershop-turned-bar, dark inside at 3 a.m. but for the ambient glow from an ATM and a lamp.
A witness described the setting in court Monday, while allowing that she didn’t even realize the name of the barbershop was “More Than a Haircut.”
The business was at East Avenue North and King Street East, and two kilometres south of Hamilton General Hospital — where Douse was taken May 18, 2019, after receiving 19 stab wounds, the Crown says.
The witness told the jury that she was inside the club, and saw a flash of metal, after the door was forced open by three men, allowing street light into the darkness.
“It was a knife with a design on it … like a snake or something … that’s when I knew it wasn’t just fists, and that (Douse) was being stabbed,” said the witness, who The Spectator is not naming due to concerns for her safety.
The witness said the knife was about 12 inches (30 centimetres) long.
She said she had known Douse for more than 10 years. She said she was standing just inside the entrance to the club, where Douse was opening and closing the door for people.
She then saw him trying to push the door closed against the three men outside and then, in seconds, a fight breaking out inside, with a man wielding a knife who she described as tall, with dark skin, and eyes that appeared “googly … buggish … weird.” A second man, she said, had lighter skin and was “heavier.”
She described Douse fleeing the bar, with three men in pursuit, and that she immediately got a ride up East Avenue North, where she found her friend lying on the porch of a house.
She said she told Douse he would be OK and urged him to keep his eyes open.
He spoke briefly, she said, able to say he couldn’t feel his legs, and he made gurgling sounds.
When she asked him, “Who did this to you?” she said he replied with a sound like “ba-na.”
The accused are Daniel Wise and Alieu Jeng. The Crown has told the jury Wise’s nicknames are “Fat Al” or “Berta,” and Jeng’s “Braids” or “Fresh.”
During a vigorous cross-examination, Jeng’s lawyer, Adele Monaco, suggested the witness’s statements in court did not align with what she told police in the hours after the homicide.
The lawyer also suggested the witness was “fabricating” aspects of her story, including the detail of the “weird eyes” of a man holding the knife.
The trial continues.