The common-law partner of a Red Deer man stabbed to death in 2019 agreed that she did not see a weapon in the hands of the man accused of the murder that night.
Under cross examination from defence lawyer Maurice Collard, Amanda Carter also agreed there was no blood on Quentin Strawberry, who has been accused of stabbing Joseph Gallant, 45, to death just after midnight on March 29, 2019.
Strawberry, 39, is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench for second-degree murder in relation to the stabbing. Strawberry is also accused of assaulting Carter.
Carter testified that she did see a weapon, which she described as a long, elliptical object, in the hands of Byron Peters, who was in a group that included Strawberry and two women, who went to Gallant’s and Carter’s rented home on 40A Ave. near 39 St. shortly before the stabbing.
One of those women, Jennifer Lee Caswell, badly beat up Carter in a dispute over a sweater. Caswell beat her on the head repeatedly with a long, cattle prod-like weapon and kneed her multiple times.
“It was severe,” Carter said of the attack.
Caswell pleaded guilty last September to assault causing bodily harm and was sentenced to eight months in prison, satisfied by time served. A charge of second-degree murder was withdrawn at that time.
Collard questioned Carter closely about the interactions she and Gallant had earlier with Strawberry. They let him stay at their home at one point for a number of days and the afternoon before the attack the three had met. Collard put it to Carter that the business conversation ended with no apparent hostility between the two men.
”I felt it had been resolved,” she answered.
On the night before the stabbing, Gallant and Strawberry were going through some stolen property kept in a closet. Carter agreed Gallant was not being made to help and they appeared to be working together.
In contrast, Peters later joined the two and “haphazardly” went through Gallant’s and Carter’s personal property, leaving clothing strewn about.
Under questioning from Collard, Carter testified that she had been a drug addict for 27 years and she and Gallant had injected crystal meth and smoked fentanyl the night before he was killed.
Carter did not agree that her memory of the night was unreliable. Despite the traumatic and shocking experience “the facts that are of major significance are not scrambled and unreliable.
”The specifics, I agree, may be mistaken and unreliable.”
Pressed further, she agreed she has a difficult time remembering everything, including the address of the home where she lived with Gallant.
Carter acknowledged she did not tell neighbours at the time that Gallant, had said “yes” when asked if Strawberry stabbed him. She did not recall if she mentioned it to various first responders at the scene.
However, she did tell police when she gave statements, she said.
Carter gave seven separate statements to police between 1:29 a.m. and 10:20 a.m. on the morning of the stabbing. She was also interviewed by an investigator on April 2.
Collard asked her if she agreed she had not told police that Gallant had fingered Strawberry as the stabber in most of the statements. When she said she was not sure, Collard asked her to review the first six statements to find any mention of that incident.
Justice Marilyn Slawinsky called a two-hour break to allow Carter to review all of the statements. Carter had not finished reading when court resumed and Slawinsky agreed to adjourn until Thursday morning.
Wednesday’s testimony was part of a voir dire — a trial within a trial — to determine the admissibility of evidence. After Crown prosecutors and the defence said they had no problem with testimony being reported by the media Slawinsky confirmed no publication ban was in place.