Saskatoon man charged with manslaughter says he only wanted glasses, shoes and ‘petty fight’

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WATCH: A Saskatoon man accused of manslaughter recalled being in a fight, hearing a loud bang and seeing a person laying on the ground as he took the stand in his own defence – Mar 19, 2021

Mohamad Al-Zawahreh wanted to pick up his shoes and glasses, but the night ended in him being charged with manslaughter, a Saskatoon court heard.

Al-Zawahreh, who is accused of manslaughter, breaking and enter and committing assault with a weapon in a fatal shooting in 2019, took the stand in his own defence Thursday.

One of four people charged in the Sept. 21, 2019, death of Kevin Nataucappo, Al-Zawahreh is the only person to have pleaded not guilty in the case.

Read more: Man pleads guilty to manslaughter, sentenced to 5 years in death of Saskatoon father

“I didn’t know at the time who Kevin was. I didn’t remember Kevin came with us,” said Al-Zawahreh.

The accused testified he was at the home on Howell Avenue earlier in the evening, but left after being beaten up. A female inside the home gave him “a look of hatred,” and when he laughed in response, a group of people jumped him and beat him up, according to his testimony.

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Al-Zawahreh returned to the house for his shoes and glasses, the court heard.

He said he also wanted to fight, and brought Devin Aldon Wesaquate, Darrell Keith Dustyhorn, Destin Mosquito and Kevin Nataucappo for backup. Earlier this month, Wesaquate, Dustyhorn and Mosquito pleaded guilty. Wesaquate was sentenced to five years in prison, while the others will be sentenced at a later date.

Kevin Nataucappo has been identified as the victim of a homicide in Saskatoon’s Hudson Bay Park neighbourhood on Sept. 21, 2019. Crystal Nataucappo / Facebook

The house was connected to the Terror Squad gang, Al-Zawahreh said, and some members of the group were from a rival gang.

“I wanted to prove a point. It was just going to be a petty fight,” said Al-Zawahreh.

When Al-Zawahreh arrived at the house for the second time, the person who answered the door grabbed him by the hair and they tumbled to the floor, according to testimony.

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The brawl moved from the living room to the kitchen, he said, and as Al-Zawahreh was on the ground being punched in the face, he heard a bang.

Nataucappo fell to the ground. He died in hospital. It’s believed the shooting was an accident, according to Crown and defence.

Under cross-examination by the Crown, Al-Zawahreh admitted he was extremely intoxicated during the fight and shooting. He acknowledged the combination of alcohol and possibly cocaine would have impacted his memory of the events. He also admitted to lying to police during his voluntary statement to officers after the incident.

Following Nataucappo’s death, police searched a home in the 1400 block of 33rd Street West, according to an agreed statement of facts. They found Mosquito’s ID, a loaded sawed-off .22 calibre rifle with ten rounds of ammunition, and a shopping bag with shotgun shells in it.

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Al-Zawahreh testified that he didn’t know a gun was involved until after he was arrested. During closing arguments, defence lawyer Brian Pfefferle stated that if the judge accepts the accused’s narrative, then he must acquit him.

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Crown prosecutor Melodi Kujawa argued the case is about credibility. She said the idea that Al-Zawahreh wanted a one-on-one consensual fight is “preposterous.”

“It’s an absurd story. It doesn’t jive with what the witnesses had to say,” Kujawa said.

Justice Richard Elson is expected to deliver his decision on May 21. Al-Zawahreh will remain in custody ahead of the decision.

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