A witness testified in court on Monday that a frantic and bloody man banged on his door yelling that he had been stabbed and to call 911 one early March 2019 morning.
Rolland Rivera said he was in his basement when he heard loud banging shortly after midnight on March 29, 2019 and then his back door bell started ringing. When he looked out of his kitchen window he saw a shirtless man in obvious panic holding a sheathed knife or machete.
“He said, ‘Call 911. I’ve been stabbed.’ And he repeated that several times,” testified Rivera in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench.
“He was in distress, agitated. He may have paced a bit but he kept repeating it.”
At one point the man lifted one of his arms. “Blood started pouring out from his underarm.”
Rivera told his wife, Chelsie Barnes-Rivera, to call 911 and they lost sight of the injured man.
When police and emergency services arrived soon after, Joseph Junior Alfred Gallant, 45, was taken to hospital, where he died soon after.
Quentin Lee Strawberry, 39, is on trial for second-degree murder, accused of killing Gallant. The O’Chiese First Nation man is also on trial for assault for attacking Gallant’s common-law partner, Amanda Carter, during the same incident.
After calling 911, the dispatcher told Chelsie that the couple should stay inside their Grandview house at 39 St. and 40A Ave. until police arrived, which happened in fewer than 15 minutes, Rolland estimated.
A short time later, the couple opened their back door and found the step covered in blood and the sheathed machete lying there.
Days later, after the police had completed the investigation and removed their crime scene tape, Rolland had to clean up blood on his stoop, stairs and on the siding of the house.
“It was everywhere. I had to clean it up with bleach.”
Chelsie could only see the top of the injured man’s head from her vantage point in the kitchen, she testified. But she could hear his cries for help, which she described as “frantic” and “hysterical.
“It was obvious this person was in a great deal of distress and pain. And then it just got silent,” she testified before Justice Marilyn Slawinsky on Monday.
After moving to the front of the home and looking out another window, she saw a woman on the front lawn of the home next door in a panic screaming to the police that there was someone inside the home who needed help.
A car then sped by into a nearby close, where she lost sight of it.
Besides the large amount of blood at the back door, she also saw droplets at the front door, which she thought were strange because the couple had not heard or seen anything from there.
On cross-examination from defence lawyer Maurice Collard, Rolland and Chelsie agreed they did not know who stabbed Gallant.
Gallant had only been in Red Deer for about four months when he was killed. The father of two had come from Prince Edward Island looking for work.
On the night he was killed, a surveillance camera recorded four people, two men and two women arrive at Gallant’s home shortly after midnight.
Crown prosecutor Greg Gordon said one of those people was Strawberry.
The judge-alone trial is expected to last about two weeks and the principle issue will be proving the identity of Gallant’s killer, said Gordon.
“This will be a trial where the ultimate issue is going to be identity,” he said.
On Monday afternoon a voir dire — a trial within a trial — was begun that is expected to last three days so the judge can rule on the admissibility of hearsay evidence.
Jennifer Lee Caswell was initially charged with second-degree murder in connection with Gallant’s death and assault causing bodily harm for an attack on Carter.
The Crown dropped the murder charge and Caswell pleaded guilty to assault causing bodily harm and was sentenced last September to eight months in prison satisfied by time already served in custody.