It was an explosive day in a Saskatoon courtroom at Shaylin Sutherland-Kayseas’ first-degree murder trial. A turn of events Wednesday morning led to the accused taking the stand as the lone witness for the defence.
Wednesday marked the eighth day of the trial and the opportunity for defence counsel to call evidence in the case, including whether the accused would take the stand in her own defence.
Ultimately she did, making her way from the prisoners’ box to the witness stand. The 20-year-old testified that she was indeed a Terror Squad gang member who did not move up the ranks after fatally shooting Dylan Phillips on Oct. 14, 2016.
She detailed for the court that she had been with the Terror Squad for five or six years, receiving the gang tattoo at just the age of 15 .
Court also heard that Sutherland-Kayseas doesn’t remember every detail the night Phillips was shot. She was extremely high on crystal meth that evening and used every day.
She told the defence she didn’t know Phillips, doesn’t recall who told her that he had drugs or whose idea it was to go to his parents’ house.
Sutherland-Kayseas testified that she wasn’t directed to go there because of the Terror Squad and intended on stealing Phillips’ drugs for her own use.
Armed with a gun only as a prop, the accused told court that when the 26-year-old grabbed the weapon it surprised her, she lost her grip on the gun and Phillips was accidentally shot.
During cross-examination, the Crown prosecutor hammered the accused over and over with what they described as lies Sutherland-Kayseas told police or while on the stand under oath.
The exchange between the Crown and accused at times was confrontational as the Crown proceeded to unravel her testimony as compared to her sworn police statement.
During Sutherland-Kayseas’ police interview, she told officers she used the gun to defend herself, a weapon she said she owned, knew was loaded, and had shot before.
Whereas she told court she didn’t know whose gun it was, if it was even loaded and had never handled it before.
The Crown also highlighted other fundamental differences like lying multiple times to officers about belonging to a gang and never said anything about being on drugs the night Phillips died.
When asked about the inner workings of the Terror Squad and the two co-accused, Sutherland-Kayseas reluctantly answered or just couldn’t remember.
She also told court she rolled on her own. The Crown quickly pointed out the contradiction since both co-accused in this case have already pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
It was also revealed Wednesday that the accused had talked to the co-accused in this case prior to court getting underway Wednesday morning.
A young offender was supposed to be the other key witness for the defence but somehow Sutherland-Kayseas got to him first, ‘You didn’t see nothing, you didn’t hearing nothing.’
Sutherland-Kayseas admitted to speaking to the co-accused, saying she knew he didn’t want to testify.
Closing arguments in this case will be heard on Friday.