A half-smoked cigar may have been the catalyst in a scuffle on the Saint John boardwalk in the summer of 2018 that ended with a man dead, witnesses say.
The jury was back in the courtroom Wednesday for Day 2 of the trial of Will Jordan, charged with manslaughter after a single punch knocked 54-year-old Anthony Dwyer to the ground, where he hit his head.
Dwyer later died in hospital.
Wednesday morning saw Jordan’s friend Sam Mallett take the stand – one of two men with Jordan at the time of the incident.
The second, Jack Rabb, testified via video in the afternoon.
In his testimony, Mallett said he and Jordan were down at the boardwalk to see Subtle, a local band, play.
He said he, Jordan and Rabb smoked a joint before walking down the boardwalk looking for a place to drink.
According to Mallett, a man in a neck brace approached the group offering them a cigar.
That’s where Dwyer, the victim, comes in.
Mallett said Dwyer approached the three, who were sharing the cigar, saying it was his — that he had given it to someone else and not those three. Now he wanted it back.
The witness described Dwyer as agitated and Jordan as scared. He couldn’t remember all of what was said but knew Dwyer wanted the cigar.
He said Jordan said, “What are you going to do about it?”
Mallett said Dwyer raised his left arm, narrating his moves to Jordan, then jabbed him hard in the throat.
It’s at this time, Mallett said, that Jordan punched Dwyer in one quick motion — he said he didn’t think Jordan had a choice.
Dwyer fell back, hitting his head on the concrete.
Mallet describing the sound as “the worst noise.”
Dwyer did not get back up.
“Things really got chaotic,” Mallett said.
“I remember a man screaming, ‘You killed him.’”
Sarah Taylor, who was Jordan’s live-in girlfriend at the time, testified Wednesday that she heard the incident, went to find Jordan and came across him walking off looking distraught.
“I think I just knocked someone out,” she said he told her.
A third witness, Evan Fraser, testified that he was sitting on the patio of the Saint John Ale House when the incident happened.
He says Dwyer was still breathing when he was on the ground but his eyes were closed.
He too recounted hearing the sound of Dwyer’s head hitting the concrete.
Dwyer died days later of the head injury he sustained.
The jury also heard from Dwyer’s friend Marilyn Steeves and two men who witnessed the incident from a distance while seated on the Saint John Ale House patio.
Judge Darrell Stephenson told the jury at end of the day that he expects the trial to wrap in 10 or 11 days – as opposed to the 16 originally scheduled.