EDMONTON – A Crown prosecutor told a jury that Joshua Petrin is responsible for the murder of Bryan Gower even though Petrin didn’t pull the trigger and wasn’t near the killing.
Prosecutor Jeff Rudiak painted a picture for the jury Tuesday of the morning 35-year-old Gower was murdered.
In his opening statements, Rudiak said in September 2012, a man came to Gower looking to buy drugs. He said Gower didn’t have any so he phoned a supplier who happened to be with a gang known as the White Boy Posse.
“Unbeknownst to Mr. Gower, these two individuals wanted to kill Mr. Gower,” Rudiak said.
Rudiak went on to tell the jury they would hear evidence the two gang members set up a meeting with Gower at a rural intersection north of Lloydminster. He said when Gower arrived, the White Boy Posse members boxed in his car.
“As soon as Mr. Gower gets out of the vehicle, gunfire erupts. Mr. Gower is killed,” Rudiak said.
The accused, Petrin, was not one of the gunmen. However, the Crown says the killers, who will testify in this trial, were “under the direction of the accused, Josh Petrin and Josh Petrin wanted this person, Bryan Gower, killed.”
Rudiak told the jury Petrin wanted Gower dead because he was taking drugs and money from other associates of the White Boy Posse.
While this trial will centre on Gower’s murder, Rudiak did spend much of his opening arguments talking about a violent few weeks in late 2012. Rudiak argued Petrin was at the heart of all the violence.
Court heard a “right-hand man” of Petrin decided to leave the White Boy Posse and this apparently angered Petrin. Gang members found the former associate and hatched a plan to kill him. Rudiak told the jury someone died.
Rudiak also outlined how the jury will hear evidence of an effort to transport drugs to Inuvik, NWT. The drugs disappeared and the Crown says Petrin blamed a man named Bob Roth.
“Josh Petrin wanted the driver, Bob Roth, killed because of the drugs,” Rudiak said.
Roth, 54, turned up dead in October 2012.
The jury also heard about a third incident involving a couple from Lloydminster. They heard the woman had ties to the White Boy Posse but was acting “shady” according to one of the expected witnesses. She was dating someone involved with a rival gang.
The Crown says there will be evidence introduced at the trial showing a text message from Petrin instructing gang members to “blast” the pair.
A tracker was reportedly placed on the couple’s car and the order was to shoot the vehicle as it arrived in Lloydminster. In the end, the couple was not killed.
In this trial, the jury will only be asked if Petrin is guilty of first-degree murder in relation to Gower’s death. On that, the Crown said it is “not alleging Petrin pulled the trigger. The Crown is not alleging Petrin was even there. Mr. Petrin directed the two individuals who pleaded guilty to killing Mr. Gower.”
Petrin’s trial is expected to last two weeks.