Prosecution in Colin John murder trial begins wrapping up its case. Defense expected to begin presenting its case in the coming days. (File photo)

Prosecution in Colin John murder trial wrapping up in Duncan

John on trial for stabbing death in Chemainus in 2016

After weeks of testimony and 14 witnesses, the prosecution in the murder trial of Colin John at the Duncan courthouse began to wrap up on Dec. 11.

The defence is expected to begin presenting its case in the coming days in the trial, which began on Nov. 19.

The prosecution witnesses included members of the public, police and paramedics who attended the murder scene, a pathologist and other experts in the field.

John is accused of the May 2016 murder of Derek Descoteau, who died of stab wounds at a residence on Caswell Street in Chemainus.

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He is also facing an attempted murder charge relating to a knife attack on Descoteau’s girlfriend, Janelle Guyatt, who suffered serious injuries.

RCMP inspector Adrian Marsden, who interviewed John soon after the attack, was among the last witnesses to take the stand for the prosecution.

He presented a video of the interview, in which John barely responded to the questions, in court on Dec. 10.

Marsden asked John why he attacked the couple, his relationship to Descoteau, and if he was upset with Descoteau for some reason, among other questions.

He pointed out that many of John’s friends told police that he had gotten along with Descoteau, who lived nearby.

“Everyone has their own side of the story,” Marsden said in the interview.

“We want to hear from you. Other people gave us information, but many may not be entirely accurate.”

Marsden told John in the interview that people he knew informed police that John had acquired knives and handguns because he believed bikers were following him around.

The only responses from John during the lengthy interview, in which he was seen tearing up on several occasions, was to ask what the weather outside was like, and to inform Marsden that the next day was his birthday.

Questions around John’s mental state were brought up earlier in the trial.

Justice Lisa Warren, who is presiding over the trial which has no jury, halted the trial for several days late last month when she ordered that John undergo a psychiatric assessment.

Warren called for the assessment after John began banging his head against the steel cage in the transport vehicle on Nov. 22 and was in a catatonic state when he arrived at the courthouse.

After the assessment was completed, John was deemed fit to continue the trial, and it resumed several days later.

RELATED STORY: MURDER TRIAL CONTINUES AS JUDGE RULES COLIN JOHN FIT TO STAND TRIAL

Witnesses for the prosecution have described a bloody scene at the house on Caswell Street in Chemainus after the attack.

Next door neighbour Carl Wright testified last month that he was among the first to rush to Descoteau’s assistance, attempting to staunch the bleeding from a gash to the 20-year-old’s neck.

While Wright tended to Descoteau and heard the fatally injured young neighbour say “Colin” had stabbed him, John, shirtless and covered in blood, walked up to them, knelt down and assured Derek that he would be OK.

Descoteau died on the way to hospital.

Neighbours also provided first aid to Guyatt before three ambulances and police arrived.

John was arrested on the scene and has been in custody ever since.

Pathologist Dr. Jason Doyle, who took the stand last week, described to the court the numerous stab wounds that Descoteau received during the attack.

He said one to the right upper back was 12 centimetres in depth and angled down, and hit the chest cavity where the lungs are located.

Doyle said another stab wound, which was close to the neck, was seven centimetres deep and penetrated into the spinal cord.

John’s lawyer, Scott Sheets, asked if it was possible that another knife other than the one in evidence that the prosecution contends is the murder weapon could have actually been used in the attack.

Doyle said he couldn’t say with 100 per cent confidence that the knife in evidence was the murder weapon, but the injuries to Descoteau’s body were consistent with that knife being used.



robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com

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