Quentin Strawberry, 39, is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench for second-degree murder in relation to the stabbing in 2019. (Photo contributed by the RCMP)

Quentin Strawberry, 39, is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench for second-degree murder in relation to the stabbing in 2019. (Photo contributed by the RCMP)

Murder trial hinges on alleged identification of killer by his victim

Quentin Strawberry accused of stabbing Joseph Gallant to death in March 2019

Mortally injured and bleeding heavily from a machete wound, Red Deer’s Joseph Gallant allegedly identified his killer to his common-law partner.

Crown prosecutor Greg Gordon said on Tuesday that Amanda Carter should be believed when she testified that Gallant, 45, identified Quentin Strawberry as the man who stabbed him once in the chest with a machete early on March 29, 2019.

Gordon said while there were some inconsistencies in Carter’s testimony her description of what happened the night Gallant died is reliable and was often corroborated by other evidence.

“She offers this court the best evidence of what happened in the Gallant residence on March 29, 2019,” Gordon told Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Marilyn Slawinsky.

Gordon acknowledged that if the judge did not accept Carter’s evidence the Crown could not prove its case beyond a reasonable doubt.

Defence lawyer Maurice Collard argued that Carter’s testimony was not to be believed and creates more than enough reasonable doubt that Strawberry is guilty of second-degree murder for Gallant’s death. He is also charged with assaulting Carter.

Collard said Carter admitted on the stand that she had difficulty remembering everything from the night that Gallant was stabbed shortly after midnight in the rented Grandview home he shared with Carter.

Collard said Carter’s evidence and recollection of events, including her partner’s identification of Strawberry in a “dying declaration” as his stabber is completely unreliable.

She testified the conversation happened outside a neighbour’s home, two doors down from Gallant’s. But the evidence showed Gallant did not go there.

“The dying declaration is stripped of so much value because she can’t get the location right,” said Collard.

“Without that utterance there really isn’t that much more. I’m still at a loss of what the words in the utterance actually are.”

When police arrived, an officer took Carter aside and would stay with her for nearly 10 hours, most of it at Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre. Carter was taken for treatment of injuries suffered from being beaten by a woman who arrived with Strawberry and another man and woman the night Gallant was killed.

Carter was directly asked if she knew who stabbed Gallant and she said, “no,” he said. It was only more than seven hours later, she mentioned the conversation that identified Strawberry as the stabber.

It “defies logic” that she did not mention that earlier, said Collard. “It defies credibility that she didn’t volunteer that over the course of seven hours.”

Carter testified that when she saw how badly injured Gallant was, she asked if he had been shot.

“No, he stabbed me. He f–king stabbed me,” said Gallant, who was pale, bleeding heavily and was having trouble communicating.

Carter asked, did “Q” stab him. “Yeah,” he replied.

Moments later, she had an almost identical conversation with Gallant, who once again said it was “Q” who stabbed him.

Carter testified that she had taken crystal meth and smoked fentanyl the night before Gallant was killed. She even admitted taking fentanyl the morning she testified in court earlier in the trial, Collard added.

Gallant also had potentially lethal amounts of meth and fentanyl in his system when he was stabbed.

Slawinsky will deliver her verdict on May 10.

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