Friday, 3 Apr 2020

Saskatoon murder trial witness has ‘change of heart,’ testifies

A witness at a Saskatoon murder trial said a “change of heart” led him to give testimony and not be held in contempt of court.

The man’s name cannot be reported due to a publication ban. He was called as a witness during the second-degree murder trial of Dallin Singharath, who is accused in the July 22, 2017, shooting death of Tyler Applegate.

On Tuesday, the witness refused to answer questions from Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss. Justice Richard Elson told the man he faced legal jeopardy, and the court was willing to wait.

“Bring your sleeping bags, then,” the witness replied.

The man was held in contempt of court and given until 10 a.m. the next day to change his mind. On Wednesday, the witness reversed his decision, testified and the contempt matter was dropped.

Asked by the Crown why he chose to testify, the witness answered “I don’t know. Had a change of heart.”

Bliss also asked about the witness’ condition on the previous day. While on the stand, the man was shaking and said he was “dope sick.” On Wednesday, he told the prosecutor that wasn’t the case and he “was just messing” with him.

In earlier testimony, Applegate’s partner Kathy Cardinal said she was inside her family’s duplex near 33rd Street West and Avenue W North on the day of the shooting. She heard her brother-in-law arguing with someone who he said urinated on their fence.

Applegate and Cardinal’s brother-in-law chased the man away. Moments later, a black Nissan Titan truck entered the alley behind their home.

Cardinal said she watched from her deck, as three men got out of the truck and approached the duplex. She said Applegate had a dog chain wrapped around his arm and held a child’s bike to defend himself.

She said someone called out “gun,” and then she heard the sound of a firearm going off. A bullet struck Applegate in the abdomen.

He died three weeks later in hospital on August 10.

A firearms expert testified that a bullet pulled from Applegate’s body matches a sawed-off, bolt action rifle seized by police. He identified the gun as a Lakefield Mossberg Mark 2.

Singharath’s trial began Monday and is scheduled for two weeks at Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench.

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