Sur­vivor tes­ti­fies at dou­ble mur­der trial

The Prince George Citizen - - Front Page - Mark NIELSEN Ci­ti­zen staff

When the gun­fire be­gan, Bradley Knight thought some­thing else was hit­ting the car.

The soul sur­vivor of a tar­geted shoot­ing, Knight told the court Thurs­day he had gone along for the ride when his friend, David Franks, had set out from his home dur­ing the early morn­ing of Jan. 25, 2017, to sell some co­caine.

“I re­luc­tantly went be­cause I wasn’t feel­ing well and said I didn’t want to go,” Knight tes­ti­fied dur­ing a B.C. Supreme Court trial for Perry An­drew Char­lie. “And he says, ‘oh, come on,’ and I went.”

Another friend of Franks, Thomas Reed, had vol­un­teered to drive them to the meet up point, a pull­out on Foothills Boule­vard near North Nechako Road.

While Reed was be­hind the wheel and Franks in the front pas­sen­ger seat, Knight said he was squished in the back seat among Reed’s work clothes and with Reed’s lit­tle white dog, Molly.

When they reached the spot, Reed pulled in roughly along­side the driver’s side of a van, no more than three me­tres away, and with the head­lights of both ve­hi­cles fac­ing to­wards a ditch along­side Foothills.

“Dave sat there and I said to him, ‘if you’re go­ing to do this, do it and let’s get out of here,’” Knight told the court. “He got out of the car and walked to the van and was im­me­di­ately back from the van say­ing ‘go, go, go!’”

Franks was crawl­ing in through the door when Knight heard a “bang, bang, bang!”

“I thought it was a base­ball bat, hon­estly,” he told the court.

But when he saw spots emerge all over the roof and heard glass break­ing, Knight took cover. “I was down on the floor as fast as pos­si­ble,” he tes­ti­fied.

He felt a sear­ing burn in his hip that left him with a wound that “aches al­ways” and suf­fered a graze to the back of a shoul­der that has left him with­out sen­sa­tion in that spot.

Franks, Reed and Molly were not so for­tu­nate.

“It turned out to be gun­fire and it hit them more or less right away. They never got a chance to do any­thing,” Knight said and later said he heard “just gur­gling” from Franks and Reed.

Molly was also found dead, the court has heard. Knight said the last he re­mem­bers of her is the dog run­ning across his back.

When Knight heard the van leave, he called 911 and was taken to hos­pi­tal.

Knight said he was un­able to see the at­tack­ers.

“I have no idea to this day,” he said when asked if he had an idea of how many there were. “All I think I heard when it was done was ‘let’s go,’ so I would as­sume it would be at least two peo­ple.”

Char­lie is fac­ing two counts of first de­gree mur­der and one count of at­tempted mur­der with a firearm.

Co-ac­cused Seaver Tye Miller and Joshua Steven West have each pleaded guilty to two counts of sec­ond-de­gree mur­der and Aaron Ryan Moore to two counts of crim­i­nal neg­li­gence caus­ing death and await sen­tenc­ing.

Crown pros­e­cu­tion is the­o­riz­ing that a hit had been or­dered on Franks af­ter he had of­fended some­one in the lo­cal drug scene.

Tall, thin and frail, Knight is in his late 60s. Franks was 46 years old and Reed was 51 at the time of their deaths. In con­trast, at the time of their ar­rests, Char­lie was 24, Miller was 21, Moore was 27 and West was 33.

Un­der cross ex­am­i­na­tion, Knight, who has con­vic­tions for two counts of traf­fick­ing, agreed that drug deal­ing is a dan­ger­ous busi­ness and that most in­volved of­ten carry weapons. But Knight said he never did, “and as far as I knew, Dave never did.”

Also on Thurs­day, the court heard from another eye­wit­ness to the shoot­ing. Steven Ray was sit­ting in the very back of the van when the gun­fire broke out and tes­ti­fied that Moore had also re­mained in­side and was sit­ting be­side him.

Ray’s friend, Thomas Lee, owned the van and had been hired to drive the four around the city and Ray had gone along for the ride. Ray said he knew Moore only be­cause he in­tro­duced him­self af­ter getting into the van and did not know who any of the oth­ers were.

When they reached the spot, Ray said he was told to get in the back and to keep his head down. When the gun­fire broke out, Ray said he peeked out briefly but could see only sil­hou­ettes but un­der cross ex­am­i­na­tion said he was 90 per cent sure it was Moore who was sit­ting be­side him.

Once the shoot­ing had ended and they re­turned to the van, Ray said they sounded “anx­ious but al­most happy” as they con­grat­u­lated each other on car­ry­ing out the job.

Asked if Moore said any­thing, Ray replied that “he said that if he had a gun, he would’ve been there too.”

The trial con­tin­ues to­day.

CI­TI­ZEN FILE PHOTO

Prince Ge­orge RCMP in­ves­ti­ga­tors work the scene of a dou­ble homi­cide on Foothills Boulavard near North Nechako Road on the morn­ing of Jan. 25, 2017.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.