The jury should believe the confession of a man accused of shooting another in the face twice, said a Crown prosecutor on Tuesday.
In closing submissions, Rajbir Dhillon told a jury that a child caught swiping from a cookie jar could have explained his way out of his situation better than Cory Lavallee, who is on trial for attempted murder at Red Deer’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
Lavallee, 31, is accused of shooting and wounding Donald Bernie Brown, then 31, at a rural residence in the Pine Lake area on June 2, 2014. Brown was hit in the face by a round from a .22-calibre rifle that dropped him to the ground. He was shot again as he lay on the ground.
Despite his wounds, Brown managed to flee to a neighbouring residence for help.
Lavallee confessed to shooting Donald Bernie Brown during a 20-hour police interrogation over two days about three weeks after the shooting.
Dhillon pointed out Lavallee confessed more than once to police, saying at one point, “I feel bad for shooting Donny. I really do. I wish it hadn’t f**king happened.”
Lavallee’s attempts to explain away his admission as an attempt to take the blame to protect his family from drug dealers doesn’t add up, Dhillon suggested.
The accused was also identified by the victim as the shooter, he said.
Defence lawyer George Lebessis said that another man present at the time of the shooting pulled the trigger.
Lavallee and the others were involved in the drug trade and when “higher ups” suggested they wanted the shooting to “go away,” Lavallee confessed.
“He confessed to the shooting to protect his family,” Lebessis told the eight-man and four-woman jury.
Lebessis said while it is sometimes difficult to understand “false confessions do exist in our justice system.”
Lavallee’s testimony that another man at the scene told him he shot Brown in retaliation for missing drugs and money.
Lebessis suggested that Brown mistakenly thought Lavallee was his shooter. Between the surrounding darkness, the glare of headlights and Brown’s own admission that he had been drinking and taking drugs he could easily have made a mistake.
The trial began last week with Lavallee and Garner Roland Belcourt, 28, charged with attempted murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The Crown dropped both charges against Belcourt on Monday, as well as the conspiracy charge for Lavallee.
The judge will give his instructions to the jury on Wednesday and then deliberations will begin.