An eyewitness testified Wednesday he was held at knifepoint while his friend was beaten and stabbed outside the Blarney Stone Pub in November 2015.
Daniel Travis Cooper, 34, said murder victim Alan Beach got into an argument with another man outside the pub on the night of Nov. 18, 2015. The argument was about a $15,000 debt that Beach’s brother owed the other man, Bill Georgopolous, known as Greek.
Georgopolous punched Beach in the face, just as he was taking a drag on a cigarette.
“When Greek punched him in the face, the cherry (the cigarette’s lit end) exploded in his face — a bunch of embers and stuff in his face,” Cooper testified in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench before a seven-woman, five-man jury.
Beach’s jersey was pulled over his head and two other men jumped in to beat him. One of those men, Daniel Boyd Sawyer, stabbed Beach in the left leg, said Cooper.
“I saw dark fluid go onto his pant leg,” Cooper testified in Sawyer’s second-degree murder trial.
He did not know how many times Beach was stabbed, but said he could see a three- to four-inch knife in Sawyer’s hand.
Georgopolous also stabbed Beach, he believes, although he did not see a knife. “He was the one making motions towards (Beach’s) chest.”
An autopsy showed that Beach was stabbed or cut a dozen times. Leg and chest wounds were the most serious. His body was also covered in bruises and scrapes.
Cooper, who also uses the last name Mireault, said he was held back at knifepoint by a fourth man when he tried to help at the beginning of the brawl.
“He told me if I wanted to do anything with it, I would get stabbed too.”
Seeing his friend stabbed, Cooper pushed the man holding a knife at him to the ground and ran into the pub, yelling for someone to call police and an ambulance.
He then rushed outside in hopes of catching the licence plate number of the vehicles Beach’s attackers had arrived in, but they were already racing away.
In his haste to leave, the driver of an SUV backed into a parked vehicle, smashing a taillight.
When Cooper went back inside the pub, Beach was lying on the floor. He was bleeding from his ears, nose and mouth and from a cut above his eye.
“I was asking him how he was doing, that everything was going to be OK; ambulance and cops were on the way.”
Cooper was sitting in the back of a police vehicle giving a statement when Beach was wheeled out on a stretcher to an ambulance.
Cooper said his friend had a bad feeling about the evening before the fight, telling him, “I think something’s going to go down.”
Crown prosecutor Ed Ring walked Cooper through security video taken at the entrance to the pub. At 8:53 p.m., Beach, his girlfriend and Cooper go outside together.
Seconds later, the fight and stabbing take place to the right of the doors, out of the camera’s view.
Ring asked Cooper if the video footage matches what he recalls.
“There are some points that are different,” he said.
Defence lawyer Chris Archer plans to cross-examine Cooper on Friday.
Lawyers plan to make submissions to Justice Bill Hopkins without the jury present on Thursday.