A witness has changed his story after being called to testify in the trial of a 36-year-old man charged with armed robbery at a Red Deer bank.
Dustin Aaron Clark, referred to as “Lips” by some witnesses, is on trial in Red Deer Court of Queen’s Bench, accused of robbing the Servus Credit Union in Taylor Plaza on the late afternoon of Sept. 13, 2012.
The first three witnesses called by Crown prosecutor Jillian Brown on Thursday morning gave consistent evidence about the chain of events, but were inconsistent in their efforts to identify the suspect.
“That’s not Lips. His lips aren’t big enough,” witness Dwight Allison, 54, said when Crown prosecutor Jillian Brown asked him to point out the picture he had selected from a photo lineup police showed him two weeks after the robbery.
Allison said police asked him to see if he could identify a man he knew only as Lips.
On the stand on Thursday, Allison said the individual shown in a surveillance photo from the bank was definitely the right man, based on the hoodie and cap he was wearing, but that he had been mistaken about the man he had chosen from the photo lineup.
Allison acknowledged that he had dated and signed the back of the lineup photo and had written on it that he recognized Lips because of his neck tattoos and large lips.
He went on to say he had a bad memory and that he could not see Lips anywhere in the courtroom, including the prisoner’s box where Clark was seated for his trial.
Bank staff called to testify were consistent in describing the events that unfolded that afternoon.
Teller Jessica Ames, 20, said she hadn’t taken much notice of the robber when he first came up to the counter because she was busy at her computer at the sit-down wicket, built to accommodate people in wheelchairs.
When she saw him waiting at an empty wicket, she offered to help him.
He stood at her wicket with his hands shoved into his pockets. He told Ames, “I have a firearm on me. Give me your money or you will be shot.”
Ames said she gave him a few bundles of cash, totalling less than $3,000, which he stuffed into the right pocket of his hoodie as he turned to walk out.
Supervisor Vanessa Stanvik, 28, said she had gone to her desk for her keys and was heading back to lock the front door when she nearly collided with the robber.
“He said, ‘If you yell or move, I will kill you.’ I locked the door behind him and then went to call 911,” said Stanvik.
However, her description of his clothes directly contradicted that given by Ames and by teller Jenna Hettler, 27, who had been helping another customer when the robbery began to unfold.
Stanvik told Brown and repeated for Justice Dennis Thomas that the robber had been wearing a white hoodie, while other witnesses testified that he was wearing a black hoodie with white writing on the back.
Ames said he had pulled the hood over a white cap, which covered most of his face. She said the only part of his face that she could see was his chin, which she recognized when police asked her to find him in a photo lineup a few days later.
“I covered up their faces and tried to look at their chins and tried to remember what I saw,” said Ames.
The trial is scheduled for completion today.