A witness at a Saskatoon murder trial was held in contempt of court Tuesday after refusing to testify about the shooting of Tyler Applegate.
The man, who cannot be identified due to a publication ban, was visibly shaking on the stand. He told court he was feeling “dope sick,” and gave brief answers but little testimony, repeatedly telling Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss he didn’t want to answer his questions.
“You’re not leaving until you give evidence,” Justice Richard Elson told the increasingly combative witness.
The man replied, “bring your sleeping bags, then.”
After speaking with a lawyer, he was asked three times by the judge whether he was going to continue refusing to testify. The witness answered yes.
“You are taking a very serious risk. A very serious risk in the eyes of the law,” Elson told him.
The judge held the witness in contempt of court, saying a penalty would be determined at a later date. The witness has until 10 a.m. on Feb. 26, to change his mind, testify, and reverse the decision.
He was ordered to give evidence about the shooting of Applegate, a 27-year-old father of five, on July 22, 2017.
“Somebody got shot. Somebody got killed over nothing. That’s all there is,” the witness stated. He said he couldn’t remember much of what happened because he was drunk and high at the time.
On Monday, Applegate’s partner Kathy Cardinal said a man urinating on their fence sparked a confrontation with her brother-in-law. She said Applegate chased the man away, and she was told the man apologized.
Soon after, a black Nissan Titan truck drove into the alley behind the duplex. Cardinal said three men got out and one of them shot Applegate as he held a chain dog leash and child’s bike for protection.
Applegate died three weeks later in hospital.
Another witness, Jodi Smuk, spoke with police on July 25, 2017 — three days after Applegate was shot in the abdomen at his Westview duplex. Dallin Singharath, 21, is on trial for second-degree murder in connection to the death.
Smuk recalled waiting at a red light at Avenue W North and 33rd Street West and seeing one man running across the street, followed by three others. Thinking the first man was outnumbered, she called 911.
“It looked like they were going to fight,” Smuk testified.
She heard some indistinct yelling, only making out one man’s comment that “all he was doing was taking a piss.”
Much of Tuesday’s testimony was focused on the sawed-off .22-calibre rifle believed to have been used to shoot Applegate. A firearms expert identified it as a Lakefield Mossberg Mark 2, a bolt action rifle.
John Marshall tested the gun in an RCMP forensic lab. He noted how the barrel and stock were cut or sawed off, which he said made it easier to conceal.
“Cosmetically, it doesn’t seem like it’s in good shape,” Marshall said, though he added the gun still fired as designed.
Marshall testified that the weapon matched with the bullet removed from Applegate’s body.
The modified rifle was held together by black electrical tape and its serial number appeared deliberately worn off. However, Marshall said he was able to “restore” the number and provide it to police.
He estimated the gun was, at minimum, more than 15 years old. A Saskatoon police constable testified the gun was “a couple decades old.”