Trial begins for trio accused of St. Jacques St. murders
Published Wednesday, September 25, 2013 1:56PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, September 26, 2013 9:04AM EDT
The trial has begun for three men accused of the daylight murder in Old Montreal of two men in March 2010.
Kerry Isaac Regis, Tyrell Lloyd Smith and Kyle Gabriel are all charged with the first-degree murders of Peter Christopoulos and Jean Gaston.
Prosecutors say the three attackers rushed into a clothing store named Flawnego, on St. Jacques St, and then opened fire without warning on the manager, Christopoulos, and Gaston, who was also in the store. Electrician Alain Gagnon was badly injured but survived the attack that saw at least 60 bullets fired. Another man also survived his injuries.
In her opening statement prosecutor Veronique Beauchamp explained that two masked men entered the store and began shooting, killing the two men and injuring the other two as they tried to flee through the back door.
The prosecution claims eyewitnesses spotted Gabriel and Smith running west on St. Jacques. Surveillance cameras also saw Smith and Gabriel as they left the store, ditching their clothes for disguises left not far from the scene.
Regis is the suspected getaway driver, and police are expected to testify that they discovered his fingerprints in a rented van and DNA from one of the shooters on a discarded gun.
The Crown also has cellphone conversations and other evidence it thinks will support the case to convict the three of first-degree murder. On one wiretap, Smith is heard telling his girlfriend he just ruined his own life.
The trial is expected to last at least 10 weeks, and more than 60 witnesses could testify, as the defence challenges every aspect of the evidence entered by the Crown. The defence’s strategy has been to question the quality of the police investigation and suggest to the jury that the wrong men may be in custody.
“It's one of the possible explanations,” said defence lawyer Franco Schiro.
The accused have elected to have the trial conducted in English, but most witnesses will be French-speaking, which means they have an interpreter.
The trial continues Thursday.