Accused calls killing an accident
The Kamloops man facing a second-degree murder charge following a bizarre murder-turned-carjacking in 2009 testified he didn’t mean to shoot the man he called his best friend.
Robert Barinecutt is charged with second-degree murder, kidnapping with a firearm and robbery with a firearm following his arrest on Feb. 15, 2009, outside the 7-Eleven store in Brocklehurst.
The Crown has alleged the 63-year-old earlier shot and killed his friend and co-worker, William Brent McEwen, 48, in a vehicle the two were travelling in on Highway 5.
After that, it is alleged Barinecutt carjacked a pickup truck and demanded to be driven to the 7-Eleven.
Testifying on his own behalf on Thursday, Feb. 10, Barinecutt said he was arguing with McEwan, who he said owed him money.
“I had the pistol in my gut and it was digging into my groin,” Barinecutt said, explaining he put the gun on the car’s dashboard.
He told the B.C. Supreme Court jury McEwan grabbed the gun and Barinecutt removed the clip, leaving one round in the chamber by accident.
The pair continued fighting for the gun and, Barinecutt said, it discharged.
“I don’t know how it happened, or what happened, but the gun went off.
“He [McEwen] just turned off like a light. He slunk down in his seat, straight down, like you turned a light off.
“I pushed on him a little bit and he was just like a sack of potatoes.”
Barinecutt said he grabbed the steering wheel, removed McEwen’s foot from the gas pedal and pulled the car into a ditch.
He said he panicked when he flagged down a truck and carjacked it.
On Wednesday, Feb. 9, the jury heard from Jeffrey Campbell, who stopped to help after spotting the crash and was carjacked.
Under questioning from Crown prosecutor Chris Balison, Campbell said after he stopped, he noticed something about the car didn’t look right.
“I was looking at it and I remember thinking, ‘How did that car end up in the ditch?’” he testified.
“It didn’t seem quite right and I can remember thinking, ‘This isn’t good.’
“I went to reach for the shifter to get out of there and a fellow came up behind me, kind of out of my vision and, next think I know, there’s a pistol pointed in my eye.
“The only thing that I’ve got a good picture of in my mind still is that gun barrel in my eye and a man’s face at the other end of it, just screaming at me.”
Campbell said the attacker, alleged to be Barinecutt, got into the passenger side of the truck and told him to drive.
Heading toward Kamloops, the men turned onto the Halston Connector and then onto Singh Street toward Tranquille Road.
Campbell said he and Barinecutt were talking the entire time — at one point even shaking hands after Barinecutt introduced himself as “Rob from Ontario” — and that Barinecutt had admitted to killing “his buddy.”
“He figured he was going to be in quite a bit of trouble and he didn’t want to go back to jail,” Campbell said.
“He decided he had three guys to kill and I was going to take him there.”
Campbell said that idea changed as the two men travelled west on Tranquille Road toward Kamloops Airport.
“He said, ‘Well, I’m going to let you live today. I’m going to give you your life and you can tell people you danced with the devil’,” Campbell testified.
“So, I said, ‘Well, I guess it’s my lucky day.’
“He said, ‘No, it’s not your lucky day. It’s up to me.’
“He said, ‘You’re going to take me to the 7-Eleven and I’m going to go in and start shooting people and have a gunfight with the cops.’
“He didn’t want to go back to jail.”
As the men approached the store, Campbell said, they drove past three young girls walking on the sidewalk, which Campbell said “agitated” Barinecutt.
“He said, ‘Oh f--k, this isn’t going to go good. This doesn’t look good,’” Campbell said.
Campbell said he then asked Barinecutt if he wanted to keep driving, but was told to pull into the parking lot of the store.
“I parked as far away as I could from the store,” Campbell said.
“I thought if I could get him out [of the truck], I could run him over with the truck.”
After getting out of the truck, Campbell said, Barinecutt took one step toward the 7-Eleven before apparently changing his mind. Instead, he leaned into a Pontiac Sunfire parked next to his truck, pointing the pistol inside.
Campbell and a man in the Sunfire eventually subdued Barinecutt until police arrived.
Earlier in the trial, James Atwater, who was in the Sunfire, testified he became involved in a wrestling match with Barinecutt in the parking lot after the initial shot — which grazed Atwater’s finger — was fired.
During the struggle, it is alleged two more shots were discharged.
After Atwater wrestled the gun away from Barinecutt, court heard, he and Campbell beat Barinecutt into a state of semi-consciousness.
Also testifying was Dr. James Stephen, the pathologist who performed McEwen’s autopsy.
Stephen said McEwen died as a result of a gunshot wound to the head, likely fired from a few inches away.
Campbell was the Crown’s final witness.
It is still not known if the defence will call any evidence.