The testimony of a gunman who has admitted to killing an innocent bystander during a dispute with bouncers outside a Toronto strip club will be read back to jurors weighing the young man's fate and that of his best friend.
The nine-man, three-woman jury is particularly interested in what Edward Paredes, 24, told court about the moment he raised and fired his semi-automatic handgun on the Yonge Street sidewalk, near the Brass Rail tavern, in the early hours of Jan. 12, 2008. Now in their second day of deliberations, the jurors sent a note to Madam Justice Mary Lou Benotto asking to hear the testimony again, along with that of an off-duty police officer who testified to seeing Mr. Paredes take out his gun and "rack" it to load it.
Mr. Paredes and Awet Zekarias, 25, are on trial for the second-degree murder of John O'Keefe, 42, who died of a single bullet to the head as he walked into a dispute between the two men and Brass Rail bouncers who had just ejected them. The Crown contends Mr. Paredes fired the shot, at the repeated urging of Mr. Zekarias, intending to kill one of the bouncers, but instead hit Mr. O'Keefe.
Mr. Paredes claims he meant only to scare the bouncers by intentionally firing wide of where they had been standing before jumping clear, and did not see Mr. O'Keefe as he stepped into the bullet's path. He has pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but not guilty to second-degree murder. Mr. Zekarias admitted to being angered by his ejection from the bar, but denied encouraging his friend to kill anyone, and said the dispute that led to the shooting was between Mr. Paredes and the bouncers.
Lawyers for the accused further argued that the two men had abandoned their protest at being ejected and were leaving the area when Brass Rail bouncer Shane Knox returned to the sidewalk, armed with a baton up his sleeve. Using mocking and provocative language, court heard, Mr. Knox called out for the men to return and retrieve a cellphone dropped while they were being tossed out.
The fatal shot was fired moments later, killing Mr. O'Keefe instantly. As he slumped to the sidewalk, Mr. Paredes and Mr. Zekarias fled, but were arrested later the same day.
Jurors also asked Judge Benotto to use the courtroom to take measurements to help them understand the relative positions of people on the sidewalk during the shooting, and to have Mr. Paredes's Baby Desert Eagle pistol - which he had legally obtained, registered and used to become a proficient target shooter at an area gun club - sent into the jury room.
The judge instructed jurors on Monday to determine Mr. Paredes's guilt, on either second-degree murder or manslaughter, before deciding whether Mr. Zekarias is guilty or not guilty of the same offence.