Jury shown gun, autopsy photos in Randy Riley first-degree murder trial
The first-degree murder trial for Randy Desmond Riley continued Wednesday at Nova Scotia Supreme Court in Halifax.
Riley, 27, is accused of killing Donald Chad Smith in October 2010. Smith was a father of two who was gunned down while attempting to deliver a pizza in Dartmouth.
LISTEN: This is the 911 call that was made on the night of Oct. 23, 2010.
The trial has only been sitting for two days, but a number of witnesses have already testified.
Const. Ron Chaulk, a member of the Halifax Regional Police since 2008, was the first witness of the day. He told the eight-woman, six-man jury that he was dispatched to 15 Joseph Young St. for a call of “unknown trouble” on the night of Oct. 23, 2010.
Once there, Chaulk said he was tasked with doing scene containment, which means his job was to prevent unauthorized people from entering the scene where a man was shot.
The following day, Chaulk said he returned to the area and participated in an article search to look for evidence. He told court that he followed a footpath near the scene to Franklyn Court, where he located a shotgun inside a culvert.
David Bryant also gave evidence on Wednesday. He told court that he has been volunteering at Panada Pizza on Primrose Street for about 25 years. His duties include training new employees, taking orders, making food and cleaning the shop.
Bryant said that the victim, Donald Chad Smith, had been working for less than a week on the night of Oct. 23, 2010. He said they both started their shifts at 3:30 p.m. that day. Around 8:45 p.m., Bryant said the phone rang and a man with a deep voice ordered a 16-inch pepperoni pizza and a two-litre orange pop.
According to Bryant, the man asked for the pizza to be delivered to 15 Highfield Park Dr., apartment 3. Bryant said he asked the man if he meant 15 Joseph Young St., apartment 3, because there was no apartment 3 at the Highfield Park apartment building and Bryant said the man agreed.
When asked how he knew there was no apartment 3 at 15 Highfield Park Dr., Bryant told court he delivers flyers in the neighbourhood and knew that the apartments at that particular building started at 101.
Bryant said he marked down the phone number the caller gave him, as well as the number that came up on the caller ID, and the fact that the call came from a payphone. Once he got off the phone with the caller, Bryant said he made the pizza and gave it to Smith to deliver.
William Cresswell, who worked at the Ultramar on Highfield Park Drive in October 2010, also took the stand Wednesday.
Cresswell said the gas station is about 2.5 blocks from Joseph Young Street and directly across the street from 15 Highfield Park Dr. On the night of Oct.23, Cresswell says his shift went until 11 p.m. He told court that around 9 p.m., a car pulled into the gas station that caught his attention because he thought it may be a customer. At the same time, he saw two people standing at a payphone nearby.
Cresswell says he couldn’t tell if the two individuals were male or female. He described them both as being hunched near the phone, but couldn’t tell if they were using the phone. The only description he could give the court is that the two people were about five feet nine inches tall. One had on a brown hoodie, while the other had on dark jeans.
About 30 minutes after Cresswell noticed the two people near the payphone, he testified that he saw police officers drive past the gas station with their lights and sirens on. Under cross-examination, Cresswell agreed with the defence that he only glanced at the individuals and that there was nothing he saw about them that caused him alarm.
Rob Furlong, a retired Halifax Regional Police officer, testified that he was one of the forensic identification officers to work on the case.
Furlong had been a forensic ident officer for 13 years before he retired. He said he was called to the Joseph Young Street apartment on the night of Smith’s death. Once on scene, Furlong said he photographed the scene through the night and into the next morning.
He carefully went over a photobook for the jury, describing the different photographs he took and explaining the significance of them. Some of the photos show a man’s body, a pizza box and red staining, which Furlong believed was likely blood.
Furlong said he also photographed and took swabs of the payphone located near the gas station on Highfield Park Road.
Mike Praught, another retired forensics officer, also gave evidence. Praught said his role in the investigation was to photograph and collect physical evidence. He attended Smith’s autopsy along with another police officer and documented everything. Those graphic photos were also shown to the jury on Wednesday. Praught carefully explained the photos he took showing a large wound to Smith’s upper torso and the pictures he took of a shotgun shell wadding that was removed by the Medical Examiner.
The same day the autopsy took place, Praught said he was also called out to Franklyn Court in north-end Dartmouth after a police officer found a shotgun. Praught said he photographed the area and the firearm before removing it and taking it back to the police station.
A few days later, on Nov. 1, 2010, Praught said he was called out to photograph some latex gloves that were found by a police officer.
WATCH: Accused murderer had grudge against man delivering pizza: Crown lawyer
Riley has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder.
In its opening address to the court, the crown said there was a previous altercation between the victim and the accused.
“We have a witness who spoke with Mr. Riley and Mr. Riley allegedly told him that he had had a problem with the pizza delivery driver from years past and that the pizza delivery driver had beaten him with an object and it was because of that that he was going to essentially get him back,” Crown Attorney Melanie Perry told Global News on Monday.
Testimony in the case is scheduled to resume Thursday at 9:30 a.m. in Halifax. The crown has said it plans to call approximately 20 witnesses during the trial.
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