Accused in Red Deer murder trial denies any role

A man accused of first-degree murder in a 2013 Red Deer shooting denies having any role.

A man accused of first-degree murder denied he was the shooter in Red Deer court on Wednesday.

The accused, who can’t be identified because he was 17 at the time of the shooting on New Year’s Day 2013, said he was at home when Lloyd Robert Sarson, 25, was shot dead in an Eastview alley.

During his cross-examination, Crown prosecutor Rajbir Dhillon put it to the accused that he killed Sarson.

“I didn’t kill him,” he replied, during a jury trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.

Dhillon suggested that the accused stopped using his cellphone on New Year’s Day for fear it would link him to Sarson.

“No,” said the accused.

He testified he found out about Sarson’s death on Facebook.

Under cross-examination, the accused was confronted with a flurry of cellphone calls and texts he made around the time witnesses heard shots in Eastview.

A short call was made by the accused at 5:21 a.m. to a number that was one digit off a local taxi company’s number.

Dhillon suggested to the accused that in his panic following the shooting he mis-dialled as he fled the scene.

“It’s not likely. It’s not possible,” the accused said of that scenario. He suggested the four-second taxi call was for a ride to McDonalds but the call went unanswered.

Two minutes later, he was calling a female friend. He only wanted to see if she was still partying, he testified.

Soon after, he phoned his grandmother, and also spoke to his mother in Manitoba shortly before 5:30 a.m. That was just to see how their New Year’s went and they told him about some family “drama” happening there, he said.

Later that day, the accused stopped using his cellphone and Facebook because he was being threatened, he said.

On Jan. 5, he moved to Vancouver.

RCMP charged the accused with first-degree murder on Jan. 13, 2013. He was tracked down and arrested in Vancouver about 14 months later and has been in custody since.

The accused testified that he started selling drugs as a 10-year-old in Winnipeg. He moved to Red Deer when he was 13 and supported himself selling crack cocaine. He only got as far as Grade 7 in school.

In cross examination, the Crown prosecutor also focused on a series of threatening texts the accused sent to Sarson after the two had an altercation at a friend’s house on Dec. 22, 2012. He testified he was just “going off” because he was drunk.

One text said, “Wait ‘til I see you. Ain’t no more talking.”

The next time the accused saw Sarson was at New Year’s.

The Crown prosecutor and defence lawyer are expected to make their closing arguments Thursday afternoon.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

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