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.


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