Trial on 2013 New Year’s Day shooting in Red Deer hears closing arguments

An eyewitness to a 2013 New Year’s Day murder is unreliable, says a defence lawyer.

The testimony of an eyewitness to a 2013 New Year’s Day murder is unreliable, the lawyer defending a man on trial first-degree told a jury on Thursday.

Calgary lawyer Karen Molle said in her closing argument it would be “dangerous” to convict her 21-year-old client on the evidence of eyewitness Chato Tootoosis alone.

The accused can’t be named because he was 17 at the time of the alleged offence.

Tootoosis testified he was in the back seat of a car when the alleged accused got out of the passenger seat and shot Lloyd Robert Sarson, 25, in a back alley in Eastview.

She questioned why Tootoosis didn’t call police right after the shooting around 5:20 a.m. despite having numerous opportunities. His rationale that he was afraid of being implicated as a party to the crime is “nonsensical,” she suggested.

Molle said Tootoosis frequently changed his story about events leading up to the shooting when confronted with facts that contradict his version.

Summing up Tootoosis’ testimony, she said, “you just can’t rely on him” and urged the jury to find her client not guilty.

Crown prosecutor Rajbir Dhillon said there is plenty of evidence to back up Tootoosis’ testimony about what happened that night. His claim that the killer shot Sarson through the open passenger door seven to 10 times matches what happened. Sarson was hit by eight bullets.

The position of the shell casings on the ground and that the passenger door was open when a neighbours arrived on the scene after hearing shots backs up Tootoosis’ version of events.

Cellphone records revealing threats and witnesses to a fight between Sarson and his accused killer show that the accused was very angry at the victim.

Dhillon said it’s the accused’s contention that he stopped using his cellphone and quit Facebook the same day as the killing because of threats is not plausible. The accused also left town four days after the killing.

The Crown also questioned the accused’s testimony that he was at home with a roommate around the time of the shooting. No evidence was presented in court to back that story up, he said.

There is also no evidence to suggest that Tootoosis was involved in the killing or had any reason to falsely accuse the man on trial.

Instead, the accused was heard on a phone saying the victim was “done” and a later text said that the accused wasn’t going to doing any more talking with Sarson.

“On Jan. 1 (the accused) did no less than what he said he was going to do.”

The judge will make his instructions to the jury on Friday morning and then the eight-man, four-woman jury will begin deliberations.

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Attendees of the Downtown Red Deer Market, which runs every Wednesday during the summer on Little Gaetz Avenue, have complained about the lack of public washrooms. (Photo contributed by Red Deer Downtown Business Association)
Portable washrooms to be set up in downtown Red Deer this summer

More data is needed before the city invests in a permanent structure

A survey of 3,083 Red Deer residents was done by an online platform on behalf of the City of Red Deer, generating about 11,607 comments.. (File photo)
Red Deerians speak out about COVID-19 concerns in survey

More than 3,000 city residents were surveyed

Red Deer dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped save a missing pet recently. The two dogs have more than 80,000 followers on Twitter. (Contributed photo)
WATCH: Red Deer science dogs help save lost pet

Red Deer science-communicating dogs Bunsen and Beaker helped rescue a missing pet… Continue reading

Treena Mielke
From record player to CD

When I first began dating my husband, he drove a little old… Continue reading

Opinion
Ottawa banks on Big Pharma making Canada pandemic-proof

Liberal fireball François-Philippe Champagne may be brand new to his portfolio as… Continue reading

Dr. W. Gifford-Jones
Health: Keep blood pressure under control

Eleanor Roosevelt once said, “You must do the things you think you… Continue reading

Edmonton Oilers' Kailer Yamamoto (56) and Toronto Maple Leafs' Morgan Rielly (44) reach for the rebound from Leafs goalie Michael Hutchinson (30) during second-period NHL action in Edmonton on Monday, March 1, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Michael Hutchinson earns 31-save shutout, Maple Leafs blank Oilers 3-0

Washington Nationals' Ryan Zimmerman watches his solo home run during the third inning of a spring training baseball game against the Houston Astros Monday, March 1, 2021, in West Palm Beach, Fla. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

In-game video returning to baseball for 2021

Winnipeg Jets' Nathan Beaulieu (88) clears the puck in front of goaltender Connor Hellebuyck (37) as Vancouver Canucks' Elias Pettersson (40) looks for the rebound during second-period NHL action in Winnipeg on Monday March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Fred Greenslade
Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Three first-period goals pace Vancouver Canucks to 4-0 victory over Winnipeg Jets

Rugby training gear is shown during a Torotno Wolfpack during a practice at Lamport Stadium in Toronto. Bradford, Featherstone, Leigh, London,  THE CANADIAN PRESS/Neil Davidson
Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Plans announced to create a grassroots Canadian rugby league co-op

Ottawa Senators left wing Brady Tkachuk (7) and centre Chris Tierney (71) get sandwiched between Flames defencemen Rasmus Andersson (4) and Juuso Valimaki (6) during second-period NHL action in Ottawa on Monday, March 1, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Batherson scores twice for Ottawa Senators in 5-1 win over Calgary Flames

Most Read