LINDSAY TRIAL: Accused set to take the stand in Mr. Big stabbing case
The undercover Mountie allegedly stabbed in the face by an accused Edmonton killer during an elaborate Mr. Big operation last fall described in court on Tuesday, Aug. 14, the confrontation as a fight for his life.
The constable, who can be identified only as "SM" because of a court-ordered publication ban, said he was driving with accused murderer Mark Lindsay from Edmonton to Kamloops overnight last September.
Lindsay, 25, is standing trial in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops on one count each of robbery, possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose and aggravated assault. He is expected to be tried on a separate aggravated assault charge next week.
On Wednesday, Aug. 15, Lindsay is expected to take the stand in his own defence regarding the alleged Mr. Big stabbing.
Court heard SM's Edmonton-based undercover RCMP unit targeted Lindsay in mid-September 2011, about a month after Lindsay's girlfriend, Dana Turner, went missing in the Alberta capital.
SM said he met Lindsay on an Edmonton-bound Greyhound bus in Hinton, Alta., on Sept. 17.
The following day, court heard, Lindsay asked SM to drive him to a Travelodge on Edmonton's south side he wanted to "check out."
Investigators didn't know it at the time, SM said, but Turner's vehicle had been abandoned in the hotel's parking lot.
"We drove right past it," he said.
On Sept. 20, SM said, he and Lindsay set off from Ardrossan, a town just east of Edmonton, for Kamloops, driving a pickup truck hauling a trailer containing two ATVs.
At about 12:45 a.m. on Sept. 21, court heard, Lindsay asked to stop in Barriere for snacks and a coffee.
SM said Lindsay went inside the Barriere Esso and came back out with a coffee and two chocolate bars — including a Mr. Big.
"He got into the vehicle, sat down and told me he bought me a chocolate bar," SM testified.
"He asked me if I was going to take a bite of my chocolate bar."
SM said he believed Lindsay's insistence that he eat the snack was intended to be "a distraction."
As SM was driving the truck back toward the Yellowhead Highway, court heard, Lindsay attacked him.
"He was kind of turned toward me," the officer said.
"He brought up his right hand and had something in it and struck me in the face."
SM said he grabbed both of Lindsay's wrists and kept him at bay.
"You're still staying in character?" asked Crown prosecutor Will Burrows.
"Yeah," SM replied. "If you could say that — I mean, I'm fighting for my life."
SM said Lindsay kept "making stabbing motions" with his right hand.
"I eventually got out the [truck's] window. We kind of stood there and looked at each other for a few seconds," he said.
"At that point, an ambulance pulled up. I ran over and identified myself as a police officer."
Court heard Lindsay then drove away in the truck. He was arrested by Kamloops RCMP near McLure a short time later.
SM said he was unsure what Lindsay had in his hand, but court heard previous testimony from a Barriere RCMP officer who said investigators found a hooked carpet knife inside the truck.
In his testimony, SM admitted the operation targeting Lindsay was unusual as far as Mr. Bigs go in that it was not a cold case.
He also said he made no threatening remarks toward Lindsay. According to SM, the operation had not yet reached the point where "criminality" is introduced.
Mr. Big operations are elaborate undercover stings in which police officers pose as gangsters and attempt to gain the confidence of suspected criminals — usually murder suspects.
Next week, Lindsay is slated to stand trial on a charge alleging he stabbed his Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre cellmate twice in the eye during a game of Scrabble weeks after he was arrested last fall.
Lindsay, the son of former Edmonton police chief John Lindsay, was charged in March with second-degree murder in relation to Turner's death. The 31-year-old's body was found near Red Deer a few weeks after Lindsay's arrest.