The Province

Accused denies any involvemen­t in neighbour’s death

Lance Standberg has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder by stabbing

- Keith Fraser kfraser@theprovinc­­er

A Burnaby man accused of fatally stabbing his former neighbour says he had nothing to do with the murder.

Lance Standberg, who has pleaded not guilty to the first-degree murder of Ronald March, 58, took the witness stand Friday after the Crown had concluded its case against him.

The Crown’s theory is that Standberg was motivated to kill March after March had a falling out with a female friend who lived with Standberg.

Prosecutor­s allege that Standberg had a “deep animosity” toward March and had twice assaulted him in the month prior to the August 2012 murder.

“I had nothing to do with assaulting Mr. March,” Standberg told a B.C. Supreme Court jury in Vancouver.

“I lived in the same building. Why would I assault somebody in the same building?”

Under questionin­g from defence lawyer John Turner, Standberg said he videotaped March moving from the Burnaby apartment to an apartment on Renfrew Street in Vancouver because he believed March had stolen some items from his storage.

He said he spent the day of the slaying taking Loray Rayne, the female friend, to buy some lottery tickets and later worked on his vehicles at home.

Asked by Turner whether he was involved in March’s murder, he replied: “I had nothing to do with March getting injured or killed. I never had any fights with him. He did get injured but it wasn’t me. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

Court heard that several hours after the slaying, Standberg tried to elude police but was taken into custody after he collided with a police vehicle in Vancouver.

Standberg, who was under a driving prohibitio­n at the time, told the jury that he tried to avoid the police because he didn’t want them to take away his vehicle, which had been impounded at the same time he had failed a breathalyz­er test and been issued the driving ban a month earlier.

He said he was in shock after the collision and walked a distance away from his vehicle when a police officer pointed a gun at him and he was ordered to the ground.

Before he could lay down, police tackled him and he was put in a chokehold and couldn’t breathe before being punched and kicked and then handcuffed, he said.

When he felt a cold sensation on his

“I had nothing to do with March getting injured or killed. I never had any fights with him. He did get injured but it wasn’t me. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”



leg, he feared he’d been shot or Tasered, he said.

After being handcuffed, one of the officers said, “See you in 10 years,” as he was being led away to a paddy wagon, the accused said.

Under cross-examinatio­n from Crown counsel Dan Mulligan, Standberg admitted that in the days prior to the slaying he was aware that there was a warrant out for his arrest for the alleged assaults and that he was trying to avoid police.

Though he believed that March had stolen items from him, he admitted that he never reported the matter to police.

“They were going to arrest me and put me in jail for something I didn’t do,” he said.

Standberg, who claimed that he videotaped March’s moving truck after he had got the address from his landlord, denied a suggestion by Mulligan that he had in fact followed the moving van to the Renfrew apartment.

He also denied Mulligan’s suggestion that his business was to “get rid of” March.

“You thought that if you killed Mr. March, all your problems with his allegation­s would go away,” said Mulligan.

“That’s stupid,” replied Standberg. “That’s not true.”

March was stabbed 12 times outside the Renfrew Street apartment, one of the stab wounds being a long incision across the neck, severing his jugular vein and his airway. DNA from the murder victim was found in blood located in Standberg’s vehicle.

It’s the second trial for Standberg. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Jim Williams told the jury that there had been a “difficulty” with the earlier trial in January, but added that there was nothing improper.

Mulligan’s cross-examinatio­n is expected to continue Monday.

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