Saturday, October 30, 2010

Jurors hear no new evidence at trial

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

Jurors at the trial of the man accused of murdering Kingston cab driver David Wayne Krick almost 3 1/2 years ago heard no new evidence Friday.

Instead, they spent the day unexpectedly closeted in their jury room and were brought into the courtroom around 4:40 p.m. with apologies from Justice Douglas Belch for the "long delay."

The judge then told them they wouldn't hear from another wit-n ess until Monday and sent them home for the weekend.

Richard Edmund Smith, 34, stands accused of second-degree murder in Krick's death by stabbing on Father's Day, June 17, 2007. He pleaded not guilty to the crime three weeks ago when his trial began in Kingston's Superior Court.

So far, jurors have heard evidence about the panic button in Krick's taxi being pushed that morning shortly before 6:45 a.m., sending a signal to his dispatcher that he was in trouble, and a subsequent 911 call he managed to make from his cellphone.

They've been told that while police and fellow taxi drivers searched the area around Park, Victoria and Durham streets for him, Krick's cab, Amey's Taxi No. 71, was driven west, back toward the neighbourhood where he'd picked up his last known fare. The cab was found, abandoned, in the parking lot of Queen's University's An Clachan complex off Macpherson Avenue.

The jury also heard testimony from the first two police officers to locate the stolen taxi. One of them, Const. Lester Tang, identified Smith in court as the man he chased but lost after seeing him crouched between two vehicles not far from the abandoned cab.

Tang, who also testified at Smith's preliminary hearing, had not previously made that identification.

Two cab drivers and a police officer described finding Krick on Durham Street, almost simultaneous with the discovery of his cab about nine blocks away, and the attempts that were made to revive him with CPR at the scene.

Jurors have been told the slender 50-year-old cab driver had been stabbed 31 times and the attack had collapsed both his lungs and punctured his heart.

Const. Edward Gaulton testified that in the aftermath of the stabbing, as police and cab drivers patrolled the streets around Macpherson looking for the suspect who had earlier run from the An Clachan parking lot, Smith was pointed out to him walking on Palace Road and he stopped and questioned him.

He told jurors that Smith, who he estimated to be six feet tall and approximately 180 to 190 pounds, was physically in the suspect's range, but the clothes he was wearing were completely different. The suspect for whom police were looking was believed to be wearing a black, long-sleeved jersey and light blue or faded blue jeans. Smith, when Gaulton saw him, was wearing beige pants, a red T-shirt, black ball cap and carrying a green windbreaker.

Gaulton was suspicious, however, of Smith's claim that he was just returning from the home of his employer, Harry Buttle, on Wright Crescent and that he'd gone to ask him about upcoming jobs early on a Sunday morning.

Buttle, a sub-contractor who worked installing carpet and flooring for 43 years, was in poor health and died before Smith's trial began. He testified at his helper's preliminary hearing in 2009, however, and jurors heard his recorded testimony from that day.

Buttle said he wasn't home between 7 and 9:30 that morning, having taken his wife's car for an oil change at Canadian Tire, near the Cataraqui Town Centre. Buttle said he left the car there and walked home to 94 Wright Cres. and never spoke to Smith that morning.

He testified that Smith told him later that he'd stopped by, however, and while Buttle believed him, he said he found it " strange," in that Smith had never come to his apartment before to ask about work.

Jurors have been told that police twice went to Smith's apartment at 117 Carruthers later that day. The first time, in the late afternoon or early evening, they spoke to a couple in the neighbouring apartment building who had just returned from a bridal shower in Cornwall.

Later, officers returned some time around midnight and those same neighbours told them about seeing a man in Smith's apartment burning what they believed were strips of fabric in the apartment's bathroom.

Jurors later heard from Barbara E. Doupe, a hair, fibre and textile expert from the Centre for Forensic Sciences, who examined a small quantity of cloth fibre and yarn, much of it charred, that had been collected by police from the toilet and sink of Smith's apartment.

She was able to identify some of the material as denim, but said there was too little of it to say whether it came from a garment or some other textile.

Det. Shawn Bough, who was a member of the Kingston Police Department's Major Case Unit at the time of the murder, has also testified to the jury that Smith was one of three persons of interest early in the case. Jurors have heard that Smith wasn't arrested the night of the murder when police collected the burned material from his bathroom.

His neighbour saw him working on his property the next day, and jurors learned from the preliminary hearing testimony of Smith's boss that he work for Buttle until August that year when the 62-year-old went into hospital.

The jury has yet to hear exactly how police came to charge Smith with the murder.

Copyright © 2010 The Whig Standard

Friday, October 29, 2010

Nine of 31 stab wounds were deadly: pathologist

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

The forensic pathologist who conducted David Wayne Krick's autopsy told jurors yesterday that he couldn't say definitively where or exactly how the 50-year-old cab driver was positioned when he was fatally stabbed, but he believed it possible "many of the wounds" could have been inflicted while Krick was still inside his taxi.

Dr. David Dexter, who was director of Kingston's forensic pathology unit until his retirement in 2008, was testifying at the second-degree murder trial of Richard E. Smith, now in its third week in Kingston's Superior Court of Justice.

Smith, 34, has pleaded not guilty to the crime, committed on Father's Day, June 17, 2007.

Dexter told jurors the wounds he saw on Krick's body could have been inflicted by an assailant reaching forward from the back seat of the taxi. But, to account for the distribution of wounds on Krick's back, front and both sides, the doctor said the cab driver would have had to have been moving.

Dexter told jurors that Krick, who he described as a "fairly thin individual" at five-foot-10 and 128 pounds, died from the cumulative effects of "multiple stab wounds" that collapsed his lungs, pierced his heart and resulted in what Dexter described as significant hemorrhaging.

Under questioning by assistant Crown attorney Elisabeth Foxton, the doctor described 31 wounds on Krick's neck, right hand and torso, most of them in the cab driver's back and all but the two on his hand positioned above the level of his diaphragm. Dexter also disclosed that nine of those stab wounds, which penetrated deep into Krick's chest cavity, could have each been fatal on their own, entering between his ribs, through his back and through his chest.

He described the two wounds to Krick's right hand -- one in the back of his hand and the other on his palm below the thumb -- as defensive-type wounds, but later agreed under questioning by Smith's lawyer, Gregory Leslie, that the characterization was based purely on location. There was no way of knowing, he said, whether they actually resulted from an attempt by Krick to ward off his assailant.

Additionally, Dexter found evidence of bleeding at the base of Krick's brain and some swelling in the brain itself, which he had examined by a neuro-surgeon. He testified that the brain injury was "consistent with what's called a closed head injury," caused by some sort of impact. It wouldn't have been sufficient to kill him, the doctor told jurors, but it could have caused him to lose consciousness.

He couldn't determine exactly what caused the brain injury. Dexter said Krick's scalp and skull were intact with no obvious bruise site, leading him to suspect the impact may have been diffused over a large area. But "where the impact occurred I could not define, post-mortem."

Foxton asked him if it could have been caused by Krick falling and hitting his head. The doctor agreed that was plausible, but he didn't know.

What he could tell, he said, was that the stab wounds and the brain injury "all appeared to be fresh and concurrent," happening "more or less at the same time."

Toxicology found no alcohol or drugs in Krick's system when he died, Dexter told jurors, and had he not met with foul play that day, the doctor said his health was "quite reasonable."

Jurors also learned that Krick's assailant didn't take the time to search him. During the postmortem examination, hospital staff found six $20 bills and three $5 bills in one of his pants pockets and his wallet in another.

Dexter said he couldn't determine in what sequence Krick's wounds were inflicted. But there were multiple factors that would have contributed to his "rapid loss of consciousness," he said, including blood loss, the collapse of his lungs and a tear one of stab wounds had opened in his heart.

Jurors were told his blood vessels would have been compromised in their ability to deliver oxygen to his brain by all of those injuries.

Dexter, after examining Krick's wounds, said it was also "possible" that they were all caused by a single weapon, and if they were, he said, "it appears to be sharp, it appears to be thin bladed."

He estimated, based on the depth of penetration of the fatal wounds, that the blade involved was "in the order of 15 cm long" and about "1.2 cm wide."

It could have been longer, allowing for the possibility that the blade wasn't driven all the way in, he testified. Under questioning by defence lawyer Leslie, he conceded that factoring in chest compaction, the blade might have been slightly shorter. He didn't find any hilt marks to assist in that determination.

Dexter testified that none of the blades police brought to him for examination fit the parameters of the weapon that caused Krick's wounds, however.

Leslie suggested that 31 stab wounds is unusual and the doctor agreed "it is a lot of wounds," and more than he usually sees with a stabbing victim. But he was qualified in adopting the defence lawyer's characterization of the attack as "frenzied." Dexter responded: "Perhaps, yes," later elaborating that while "it is unusual to see this number of stabbing wounds," he couldn't comment on what else was going on during the attack.

Krick's wounds don't illuminate his assailant, according to Dexter. He told jurors, during questioning by Leslie, that it was impossible to tell how the knife was held, whether the assailant was right-or left-handed or how tall or heavy was the person wielding the knife.

Copyright © 2010 The Whig Standard

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Man burned items in home: couple

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

More than 16 hours after Amey's Taxi driver, David Wayne Krick was stabbed to death and his taxi stolen, jurors heard yesterday that a couple on Carruthers Avenue saw a man in Richard Smith's apartment next door burning what they believed were torn strips of cloth in the bathroom.

Smith is on trial in Kingston's Superior Court, charged with second-degree murder in Krick's death and has pleaded not guilty.

Christopher Pike and his wife, Dawn Pike, both testified separately that they didn't know any of their neighbours at 117 Carruthers on June 17, 2007, the day Krick died. They also didn't recall noticing Krick or his girlfriend, who also lived in the apartment, before that night.

The Pikes had lived on the top floor of the small apartment building next door to 117 Carruthers about six years at the time and were engaged to be married. They also told jurors they'd been out of town that Sunday at a bridal shower in Dawn Pike's honour in Cornwall and hadn't heard about the murder in Kingston, which had occurred between 6:30 and 6:45 a.m. that morning.

Christopher Pike testified that they drove back that afternoon, arriving home some time between 2 and 5 p.m., and recalled that his then fiance spent some time putting away all of the gifts she'd received.

He also recalled finding police on his street outside the apartments next door when they pulled in and that one of the officers asked if he'd seen his neighbour and that he told them "no."

Pike, under questioning by Smith's lawyer, Gregory Leslie, said the officer didn't use his client's name when he asked the question or identify the person he was interested in as the neighbour in apartment No. 1 at 117 Carruthers: He simply asked if he'd seen his neighbour.

Christopher Pike agreed with Leslie that the query was intriguing in that it was out of the ordinary.

But he testified he had no inkling of what was actually going on when his wife called him to their kitchen window around 11 p.m., alarmed at seeing flames in a window across the driveway at 117 Carruthers.

At first, he said, she thought it was a house fire and so did he: "Then I observed the fire wasn't out of control."

Pike said he saw a man standing in the apartment's bathroom setting long strips of what he took to be fabric on fire and dropping them out of view.

Once he ascertained that the apartment wasn't on fire, however, "I felt it was nothing to be alarmed about," he testified, "and none of our business."

He then returned to watching TV, but he said "Dawn watched the whole time," and intermittently called him back to observe the activity in their neighbour's bathroom.

Dawn Pike told jurors she'd gone to the kitchen for chocolate when she first saw the flames.

The lights in her kitchen were off at the time, she told jurors, and she was just reaching up to a glass shelf across the window above the sink when she saw the flame flicker in the corner of her eye.

"I thought our neighbour's house was on fire and I thought we should call the fire department," she testified, but her husband "told me I should mind my own business."

She kept watching, however, and observed that "the flames were floating" in the small bathroom window, which she estimated was about 30 feet away, down and to the right of her own vantage point. It looked like strips of fabric burning, she told jurors, "just by the way (the flames) moved." She also observed that the burning material was in different lengths and said she could hear faint sounds of fabric tearing from the open bathroom window.

She didn't smell any smoke, she testified. But her husband told jurors he did.

Dawn Pike also told jurors she could see it was a man doing the burning, although the light in the bathroom wasn't on. Both she and her husband testified there appeared to be light coming into the room from outside the room, possibly through an open door.

Dawn Pike also testified that she saw a woman with long hair enter the bathroom at one point and the pair seemed to her to have a conversation, although she couldn't hear anything that was said.

She told jurors she was able to see that the man doing the burning was thin, had short hair and tattoos on his forearms and that initially he was wearing a tank top, although later when he came into view he was bare chested and wearing only boxer shorts.

She said she got a good look at him because "at certain points he'd go right up to the window and he'd look left and right and then he backed away."

She estimated that she sat in her darkened kitchen and watched him lighting the fires for "an hour or more," and only left the window a couple of times "to argue with my husband because he was telling me to get out of the window and mind my own business."

Around midnight, however, the police returned: Just two plain clothes officers at first on the lawn and walking down the side of 117 Carruthers Avenue. Both Pikes recalled that there was no doubt about their identities, because one of them was wearing a bullet-proof vest with Police lettered across the back. Dawn Pike said she left the window to get her husband from the living room where he was still watching TV and insisted he go down and talk to them.

And Christopher Pike told jurors he did as she demanded and "once I waved one of the officers over, I told him what my wife and I had observed through the window," essentially that they'd seen a neighbour in 117 Carruthers burning what appeared to be fabric, and "the officer thanked me, looked perturbed" and went to talk on his radio.

Christopher Pike then returned to his apartment, stopping once, he said, to look through the stairway window, where he observed the man in the neighbouring apartment stop what he was doing to look outside toward the driveway.

At about the same time, Dawn Pike testified she was going back and forth between her kitchen window and the windows in her living room, which faced toward Carruthers Avenue.

When she looked out the kitchen window, the burning had stopped, she recalled, and when her husband returned to their apartment, they both stood and watched out the front windows as more police officers pulled up outside.

Christopher Pike estimated there were about seven of them on the property when he heard them ask loudly for someone to come to the door, which was followed, he said, by a loud bang.

After that, both Pikes saw police inside the apartment next door, in the kitchen and bathroom. Then, some time later that night, an officer came to their apartment and took statements from them.

The jury heard that was when the couple first learned that police were investigating a homicide. They've also been told, in earlier testimony, that Smith wasn't arrested that night.

The trial continues this morning at the Frontenac County Court House.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Officer testifies he saw accused on day of murder

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

A former Kingston Police officer was grilled Monday at the second-degree murder trial of Richard Smith.

Though he never identified him before, Const. Lester Tang testified that he saw Smith crouching near the taxi of slain cab driver David Wayne Krick the morning of the murder.

Jurors have already been told that before he succumbed to his wounds Krick, 50, was able to call police around 6:45 a.m. on the morning of June 17, 2007.

They've also heard that soon after dispatchers for the police and Amey's Taxi gave out Krick's last known location his taxi was reported on the move again. It ended up on MacPherson Avenue off the west side of Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard.

Tang testified that he was the second officer -- right behind now retired Const. Mike Campbell -- to arrive at the parking lot of Queen's University's An Clachan apartments off MacPherson, where Krick's taxi was abandoned.

As he turned his cruiser down MacPherson, Tang told the jury, his attention was drawn to a man he could see through a gap in the hedges, crouching between two vehicles.

"I was travelling quite slowly, I'd estimate between 10 and 20 km/h," Tang said, and by his estimate the crouching man was about 20 metres away, within about five vehicles of Krick's abandoned taxi.

"When I saw him, our eyes met," he told jurors. "He saw me as well and just took off running."

Tang, who transferred to the Guelph Police Department in February, said he was "very surprised by the quickness of his reaction and his speed when he took off." He estimated he had about one second to study the man's face.

His cruiser was also behind Campbell's at that point and Tang estimated it took another 30 seconds for the two vehicles to get into the parking lot.

He testified that he radioed he'd seen a suspect first from his cruiser and then from his mobile radio as he gave chase. Campbell also jumped out of his cruiser, he recalled, and started running after the man, as well, signalling to Tang to take another path through the centre of the complex.

Campbell previously testified that he was never able to catch up to the runner and lost him when he rounded a building. Tang said the man never crossed his path again that morning.

That evening, he told the jury, he looked through 925 mug shots without success. He selected photos of "three people I thought would resemble the guy I saw," he said, largely based on what he felt was a similar rounded face shape, but he never suggested any of those three might be the man he chased.

"My purpose," he said, "was just to start the process."

Assistant Crown attorney John Skoropada asked Tang if he ever saw the runner from that morning again and Tang said "not until the day of the preliminary hearing that was held last year." He then identified Smith in the prisoner's dock.

Smith's defence lawyer, Gregory Lester, was quick to point out that Tang was asked that exact question during the preliminary hearing, however, and his answer then was a simple "no."

Tang said he'd put too narrow an interpretation on the question when it was asked on that earlier occasion and claimed he didn't appreciate the significance of his being able to identify Smith as the runner.

"The investigation had already made an arrest of the correct person without my assistance," Tang explained. "I felt I was peripheral to the investigation."

He also agreed with Leslie that the first time he disclosed that he recognized Smith as the person he'd seen running from the parking lot that morning was during a conversation with assistant Crown attorney Skoropada just before the trial began two weeks ago.

His revelation, Tang con-firmed, came about after he noticed a photograph of Smith on a binder and made a remark to Skoropada to the effect that Smith looked different in the flesh.

The trial continues this morning at the Frontenac County Court House.

Copyright © 2010 The Whig Standard

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Police officer describes what he saw the day of cabbie's murder

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

Jurors at the trial of the man accused of murdering Amey's Taxi driver David Wayne Krick resumed hearing evidence Monday afternoon, only to be told they'll be in recess again until next Monday.

Justice Douglas Belch told the 12 citizens charged with weighing the Crown's case against Richard Edmund Smith that he's dealt with the points of law that paused witness testimony last week, on the third day of trial.

However, he also advised them they won't be required for the rest of this week, but will resume hearing testimony on Oct. 25. In the interim, he said, he and the lawyers involved will be working.

Smith, 34, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the stabbing death of Krick, who was 50 at the time of his death on June 17, 2007.

The jury has already heard how the Kingston cab driver was found around 7 a.m. that Father's Day Sunday, blood-soaked on the sidewalk in front of a white bungalow on Durham Street. He'd been stabbed 31 times, had no detectable pulse and CPR initiated by a fellow driver and a police constable was unsuccessful in restoring any spark of life.

Yesterday, retired Kingston Police Const. Mike Campbell told jurors he was in a patrol cruiser that morning, parked up around Princess and Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard at about 6:45 a.m. when his dispatcher advised that a cab driver had been stabbed in the area of Park Street.

Campbell put his cruiser in gear and was heading for Park Street, Campbell testified, when he received new information seven minutes later that led him to believe the injured cabby might instead be on Macpherson Avenue, west, off Sir John A. Macdonald. He told the jurors he immediately changed direction and drove for the new destination.

The former constable said there's a complex of Queen's University graduate student residences off Macpherson -- which have previously been identified as the An Clachan Complex. When he initally turned west onto the avenue from Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard, Campbell said he could see a white car in the northeast corner of the complex parking lot. But didn't see any sign of people and said he hadn't noticed a fellow officer driving up behind him.

At that point, Campbell said "I wasn't in full possession of all the details about the cab" and so even after he'd identified the white car as an Amey's Taxi, he didn't know if it was the specific cab police were seeking.

He testified he was approaching in his cruiser -- slowly -- when he suddenly heard a voice over his radio announcing "I am in pursuit," or "I am in foot pursuit" and glanced in his rearview mirror to see a cruiser pulling in behind him. He recognized the voice on the radio as that of fellow officer Lester Tang, a relatively new addition to the force at the time, he said, and when he shifted his eyes forward again he saw another man running.

Campbell told jurors it all happened virtually simultaneously and, in response, he got out of his cruiser, ran around the front, climbed over a 2 1/2-foot guide rail and joined the pursuit. He admitted, however, that the suspect already had enough of a lead, "I knew I would not catch him."

He agreed with defence lawyer Gregory Leslie that Tang, being considerably younger, had a better chance of running down the fleeing man. After his initial head start, Campbell estimated 40 yards was the closest he ever came to catching the suspect.

But he testified that he stayed in the chase until he lost sight of the runner around the corner of a building, concentrating the entire time on observing as much as he could in order to provide the best description possible for his fellow patrol officers.

"At that point," he noted, "the taxi driver had not been found. We knew he was wounded from the information we had and I thought he might still be in the taxi."

So he returned to Amey's Taxi Number 71, abandoned in the An Clachan parking lot. Campbell testified that it was on his return that he observed red smears on the paint around the rear passenger door.

He told jurors he looked inside and, seeing no sign of the driver, spotted what looked like a GM key on the floor underneath the steering column.

Campbell said he carefully opened the door, using only his index finger and retrieved the key "very gingerly".

He wasn't wearing gloves, he said. But he needed to make sure Krick hadn't been stuffed in the trunk, so he fit the key into the trunk lock holding it carefully by its edges.

When he discovered Krick wasn't anywhere in the cab, Campbell said he relayed that information back to police dispatch, together with a description of the man who had run from the cab's vicinity and ultimately eluded both him and Const. Tang.

He then sealed off the area around the abandoned taxi with yellow police tape and later accompanied the cab as it was towed to an impound lot where he personally affixed police seals to all four doors to preserve evidence.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Witnesses give details of how victim was found

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

Jurors on the second-degree murder trial of Richard E. Smith heard on Wednesday that a call for help was sent from the taxi of the man he's accused of killing, taxi driver David Wayne Krick, approximately 10 minutes after Krick was sent to pick up a fare from the YMCA parking lot on Wright Crescent.

Kenneth J. Osborn, who was dispatching for Amey's Taxi early that Sunday morning, June 17, 2007, testified that the initial call was assigned around 6:30 a.m. And as soon as he saw the flashing "Emergency" indicator on his computer screen, he switched to voice frequency and called for "car 71, car 71," the cab Krick was driving. But he received no response. He said he also asked: "what's your emergency?" which could have been heard by anyone else in the cab if Krick's radio was switched to voice frequency. But there was no indication that message was heard, either.

Osborn said there have been false alarms in the past when a panic button was hit by mistake. But he told jurors he'd always been able to reach the drivers involved. They discover their error, he said, when the system won't let them book into a zone or answer any calls. When that happens, Osborn testified, Amey's drivers are supposed to immediately switch to voice frequency because an emergency alert, once activated, requires the driver of the involved taxi and the dispatch office to work together to deactivate it.

This time, there was only silence from the 50-year-old driver involved, so Osborn said he contacted another driver and asked him to check the Victoria and Durham street area where the panic button on car 71 was activated.

"I was sending other cars in to help," he added, "and I got a phone call from Kingston Police asking about car 71 and Dave Krick."

Osborn told jurors he didn't know how the police dispatcher got Krick's name and taxi number. But the call came in about two minutes after the panic button in his taxi was hit. Consequently, Osborn said he responded by calling up that morning's driving history for car 71 -- only to discover it was on the move again, travelling down Victoria Street.

As Osborn monitored the taxi's progress, relaying updates on its position to police, his recollection was that Amey's Taxi 71 cut over to College Street, drove down toward the water almost to Union Street, and then reversed itself, travelling back up College and over to Brock Street, before finally coming to a stop off Macpherson Avenue.

Amey's Taxi driver Michael J. Hartson had just started his shift around 6:30 a.m. that day. He testified that he picked up his only call that Father's Day around 6:40 a.m., dropping his fare off on the other side of the LaSalle Causeway in Point St. Mark.

It stopped being a routine day for him, however, as he was driving back across the bridge into Kingston's downtown, around 6:50 or 6:55 a.m. by his estimation. It was then, he testified, that a text message appeared on his meter indicating a driver needed help in the Victoria and Park street area.

Hartson testified it took him less than five minutes to drive from LaSalle Causeway to Victoria Street, where he joined two other Amey's cabs in a search of the area.

He recalls following car 34 up Durham Street, observing that, at the time, "we weren't looking for someone on the ground. We were looking for Dave (Krick) walking, or his cab." He suggested that was the reason the driver of car 34 initially missed seeing him.

Hartson, however, spotted someone lying on the south sidewalk on Durham Street, partly on the sidewalk and partly on the lawn of a white bungalow, his head toward a no parking sign. He also recalled that his immediate impression was that "there was a lot of blood."

He told jurors that he radioed Osborn in the taxi company's dispatch office and told him that he was going closer to have a look and then, "I saw it was Dave."

Hartson said he checked for a pulse at Krick's wrist and throat, couldn't feel one and relayed that information to Osborn before returning to see if there was anything he could do

He told jurors Krick was lying on his right side "in a fetal position," with one arm flung out and a closed cellphone in his hand when he first saw him. His eyes were open, and while Hartson was standing there, he said the phone began to ring, so he answered it. The voice on the other end identified itself as police dispatch, he said, and asked for his name and position. Then, almost immediately, he remembers a police cruiser coming around the corner.

Hartson told jurors he helped the police officer, who they later learned was Const. John Stanistreet, to roll Krick onto his back so the officer could begin CPR.

Shelley L. Scott, was driving back from Norman Rogers Airport after dropping off a fare around 6:40 a.m. that same morning.

She testified that she swung down Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard, heading downtown, and noticed an unusually heavy police presence around Van Order Drive. She remembers thinking they were after somebody at just about the same instant she received a text message directing all drivers to Victoria and Park streets.

She remembers going to voice and asking which car they were looking for and being told they weren't looking for a car, just its driver.

Scott testified she'd just started to search on Durham Street when the message came over that Krick had been found and she drove back to assist.

She'd only been part of the Amey's fleet a short time, she testified, and "knew of " Krick more than she knew him. She was upset when she saw the scene, however, and recalled that as she approached, the officer on the scene told her to go back to her car.

Scott said she actually started to walk away and then "I said, 'wait a minute, I know CPR', " and she returned to assist Stanistreet, forcing air into her fellow driver's lungs while the police officer performed chest compressions.

Stanistreet told the jury he'd been dispatched at 6:53 a.m. that morning to help find a cab driver who'd been stabbed in the Park and Victoria streets area.

He remembered that it was only a short time after receiving that message that a second one came through indicating the missing driver had been found in front of 14 Durham St.

Stanistreet's recollection was that he was the third person to arrive on the scene rather than the second, however. He testified that he checked Krick for a pulse, found none, and the woman who was already there initiated CPR. He said he joined her, performing chest compressions until an ambulance arrived. He didn't know anything about the woman and man who remained to help, however, not even their names. He recalled that the man told him David Krick's name, "but I don't know how they knew each other," he said.

Copyright © 2010 The Whig Standard

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Trial into cabbie's murder begins

From the Kingston Whig-Standard Online:

By Sue Yanagisawa

Almost three and a half years after it happened, jurors on the second-degree murder trial of the man accused of killing Kingston cab driver David Wayne Krick heard their first evidence in the case yesterday in Kingston's Superior Court of Justice.

Richard Edmund Smith, 34, has pleaded not guilty to the homicide charge and it's anticipated his trial will continue over the next five weeks.

In his opening statement to the seven women and five men of the jury, assistant Crown attorney John Skoropada briefly described the events of that fatal June 17, 2007 morning.

It was Father's Day, a Sunday, and Krick, who was 50 at the time, was working the day shift when, according to Skoropada, he was dispatched to pick up a fare on Wright Crescent.

The call was assigned to him just after 6 a.m., the prosecutor told the jurors, and at 6:44 a.m. the emergency button in Krick's cab was depressed on Durham Street, alerting staff at Amey's Taxi that he was in some kind of trouble.

Skoropada said the cab company was able to use GPS to begin tracking the cab as it doubled back west again, ending up in a parking lot off Macpherson Avenue behind Queen's University's An Clachan apartments, on the opposite side of Sir John A. Macdonald Boulevard from Wright Crescent.

He told jurors that police officers saw someone crouched down beside the taxi as they pulled onto the lot, but he ran and disappeared among the buildings that make up the complex.

By then, the cab's fatally injured driver had also been located by fellow Amey's drivers and police on Durham Street. Skoropada told the jury and Justice Douglas Belch that there will be evidence from a pathologist, later in the trial, concerning the 31 wounds inflicted on him.

He also told jurors that a short time after Kingston Police issued their officers with a description of the man seen earlier crouched by the abandoned taxi, Smith was found walking in the general vicinity and was stopped and questioned by an officer. Physically, he matched the description, according to the prosecutor, "but his clothing did not."

Skoropada said Smith told the officer who questioned him that he'd been out in the neighbourhood seeing about a job. The jury was told that Smith was allowed to go about his business but later that night, officers went to the apartment where he was staying to follow up.

Skoropada told them police knocked on the door, but Smith didn't answer and later, after they gained admittance, he told them some fibrous and charred material was recovered from the apartment's bathroom.

Smith wasn't arrested at that time but the following day, Skoropada told the jurors, a female friend of Smith's was released from Quinte Detention and she subsequently claimed to have met with him to do drugs. She additionally claimed that Smith had talked to her about the taxi driver's stabbing. She later left the province, but ultimately gave a statement to police.

Yesterday, Skoropada opened the Crown's case with two witnesses who both testified to events prior to murder.

Dianne Osborn recalled seeing a white Amey's taxi pull up on Wright Crescent around 6 a.m. that June 17 morning as she was watering her plants. She didn't see the driver of the cab, however, and couldn't really describe the solitary white male she saw get into the taxi.

Dawhlia Martin-Chatterton, 28, told jurors that she'd spent the Saturday evening into the early morning hours of June 17 with Smith. Martin-Chatterton said she first met him some time in the previous year at the XXX Sports Bar attached to the Rest Inn on upper Princess Street. "We were acquaintances, we would meet up at the bar the odd time," she recalled.

She agreed with defence lawyer Gregory Leslie of Toronto, however, that she was attracted to his client, who she'd earlier described as "quite scrawny" at the time compared to his current physique.

She told the jury she saw him three or four times and then, on that Saturday evening, June 16, 2007, she phoned Smith and asked if he wanted to go out for drinks.

He did and Martin-Chatterton said he arrived at her place on South Bartlett Street, about a block from the bar, between 6 and 7 p.m. They had a beer there together before heading out, she recalled.

She testified that they drank all night at the XXX Sports Bar and left at closing time, which she estimated would have been about 2 a.m. By then, they'd been joined another man she identified only as 'Chris'.

The three of them took a cab to Chris' apartment on Guy Street, she testified, where they "hung out and had a drink."

She disclosed, with some prompting from Skoropada, that she also had sex with both men in the Guy Street apartment, "me and Chris and Rich."

She was drunk, she admits, and eventually decided to go home to her own place. She said Smith called a cab for her and came outside to wait with her on the street but "he wanted me to stay there because he wanted to party some more."

"I said I was too tired," she told the court, and remained firm about going home.

She remembered Smith telling her that he'd come by her place later and testified that when she woke up "noonish" on Father's Day she found a message from him on her answering machine recorded at 4 a.m.

"It was along the lines of, 'I'm outside your house; you're not answering your phone; you're not answering your door. Where are you?' "

She told the jury she'd slept right through and never heard her phone ringing or her doorbell and it was a month or two before she saw Smith again.

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