By LANA MICHELIN
A man accused of attempted murder after his friend was shot multiple times in a Sylvan Lake-area trailer was found not guilty because of a lack of credible evidence at his five-day trial.
Andrew Joseph Snow, 30, remained expressionless on Friday upon hearing he was to be freed at the end of his trial by judge alone in Red Deer Provincial Court.
Snow had been in police custody since January in connection to a shotgun shooting on Sept. 17, 2015.
Richard Hans Koehl, 34, was hit in the abdomen, forearm, back and shoulder with a 12-gauge while visiting Snow’s trailer. Although Koehl initially wouldn’t talk to police about what happened, he later testified that he was shot by Snow.
Court heard that both Koehl and Snow had ties to the drug world, but Snow maintained his innocence in the shooting.
Snow said he fled the scene because of other outstanding police warrants against him. He took the witness stand to testify that two men came out of his bathroom, fired at Koehl and fled.
Since no forensic evidence links Snow to Koehl’s shooting — no blood was found on the steering wheel or gas pedal of the car he drove away in — Judge Gordon Yake had to base his decision on Crown witness testimony, which proved largely unreliable.
Both Snow’s lawyer, Maurice Collard, and Crown prosecutor, Edward Ring, considered Koehl an “unsavoury” witness, who had repeatedly lied on the stand. The biggest discrepancy concerned where the first shots were fired. Koehl claimed he was standing at the end of a hallway in the trailer, but Collard noted there were no blood spatters at that location.
Significant blood was found in the kitchen/dining room. But according to Koehl, he didn’t pass through this area while stumbling out of the trailer after being shot.
The unreliability of Crown evidence extended to testimony by witness Conner Swain. He said Snow came to his house to shower and change clothing after the shooting — but then Swain had trouble remembering basic facts, such as at which time of year the crime occurred.
Yake found so many gaps in Swain’s memory that he couldn’t accept any of his testimony against the accused.
The judge, who plans to release written reasons for his ruling in the coming weeks, suggested it wasn’t a matter of which version of events he believed. It was up to the Crown to prove Snow’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt, and he said it just didn’t happen.