Jury enters deliberation in second-degree murder trial of Vincent Ward

Vincent Ward’s second-degree murder trial ended Monday with Crown and defense attorneys, in their closing arguments, painting two different versions of the night in April 2018 Vincent Bélanger-Dompierre was shot in Labrador City.

The jury will now decide whether Ward, as defense counsel argued, was acting in self-defense when he shot the Montreal man or did so, as the Crown says , without reasonable grounds.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the body of Bélanger-Dompierre was found in a residence on Avenue des Pins early in the morning of April 26, 2018, accompanied by a large quantity of drugs, money and four firearms. fire. Ward and Bélanger-Dompierre had cocaine and methamphetamine in their systems.

Prosecutor Trina Simms said the shooting was illegal, pointing to Ward’s police interview in which Ward said he was there because of « bad decisions. »

During the police interview, Ward said Bélanger-Dompierre told him he was going to be killed by people who blamed him for a missing kilogram of cocaine. Ward said he went to his house and seized a pair of firearms, a .22 and a .270, but could only find the .270 ammunition.

Simms noted that Ward said his stepfather advised him to run away and his friend told him to go to the police.

« He had a choice to make and he made the wrong one, » Simms said. « The choice he made was to go to 1006 Pine and shoot Bélanger-Dompierre. He put himself in that situation. »

Three Different Shooting Stories: Prosecutor

Simms said Ward told three different stories about how the shooting happened during his interview with police. Either way, Simms said, Ward told police he turned the .22 over to Belanger-Dompierre. What happened next changed each time he told the story, Simms said.

In the first, Ward said Bélanger-Dompierre waved the .22, then Ward accidentally fired while Bélanger-Dompierre was standing. In the second iteration, Ward said Bélanger-Dompierre pointed the .22 at him, but Ward told him to put the gun down and Bélanger-Dompierre did. Ward said he then fired but wanted to shoot past Bélanger-Dompierre’s head, not hit him.

In the third version, Ward said Bélanger-Dompierre pointed the .22 at Ward and taunted him, then Ward fired. During his interview with police, Ward confirmed that the .22 had never been loaded.

Ward is charged with the shooting death of 28-year-old Vincent Bélanger-Dompierre. (Photo sent)

« This is not a drug and money trial. This is a murder trial, » Simms said.

Defense attorney says shooting was self-defense

Defense attorney Mark Gruchy, saying Ward acted in self-defense, said Ward and Bélanger-Dompierre worked together against people who were allegedly after Ward. Gruchy said the situation was tense and Bélanger-Dompierre turned on Ward.

Ward heard the bolt-action rifle open and close and thought it was loaded, Gruchy said, adding that the upward trajectory of Ward’s bullet indicates that Ward quickly fired from the hip rather than aiming from the shoulder, showing that it was a reaction rather than a reflection. decision.

« Everyone was doing drugs, » Gruchy said. « Can the Crown prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it did not happen that way? »

labrador city murder pine avenue
Bélanger-Dompierre was shot and killed at this house on Pine Avenue in Labrador City in April 2018. (Photo sent)

Gruchy also said the Crown witnesses were unreliable. Ward’s friend, Jacob Beson, testified that he used drugs and felt like he was overdosing. Gruchy said Beson made several different statements to police and that Beson and eyewitness Martin Audet had previously lied under oath in their interviews with police.

Gruchy said Ward admitted to taking a lot of drugs after the shooting, so his different versions of events could be traced to Ward trying to explain something while under the influence.

Learn more about CBC Newfoundland and Labrador


Back to top button