A Kamloops man accused of killing his co-worker last year told jurors a harrowing tale on Wednesday, describing a kill-or-be-killed situation he compared to a run-in with a bear.
But Stephen Fraser’s testimony in B.C. Supreme Court also included a previously undisclosed statement that he blacked out for four hours after killing Cody Foster in February 2017.
Fraser, now 58, and Foster, 26, worked together at a small manufacturing mill in Dallas. They also socialized outside work and Fraser described Foster as something of a “kid brother” to him.
On Feb. 11, 2017, Fraser said, he was at his North Shore home when Foster showed up, looking for a ride to the Kamloops RV Park in Dallas, where Foster lived in a fifth wheel. Fraser drove Foster home and went inside Foster’s trailer to hang out after dropping him off.
Fraser said that’s when the situation took a turn.
“He started talking to me,” Fraser said in court. “He said, ‘Just so you know, I really don’t want to kill you.’ That was a really odd sentence. Then he continued and he said, ‘But I’ve got no choice.’ That caught me off guard.”
According to Fraser, Foster then approached him and gave him a hug.
“He said, ‘Don’t feel bad, my brother from another mother. It’s not personal. It’s just business.’ I was very shocked,” Fraser said.
“I guess my mind was in a whirl. I think, without realizing it, I kind of went into bear-encounter mode. … The last thing he said was he was with the Independent Soldiers and he was just a guy who had to follow orders.”
Fraser said he could feel his adrenaline pumping and, while being embraced by Foster, scanned the trailer for weapons. Jurors were told Fraser spotted a knife in a drying rack and grabbed it.
“Basically, at that moment, I was his prisoner,” Fraser said. “I knew it was useless trying to fight him. I was in a serious amount of trouble.”
Fraser said he felt it was important to take swift action, given Foster’s comments.
He plunged the knife into Foster’s neck. The blade broke off, becoming lodged inside Foster.
“I had a couple seconds, I figured,” Fraser said. “I thought if I pushed the knife into his neck, it would stop him long enough to get out of there. But it didn’t seem to distract it at all. … He didn’t grunt, he didn’t say ow, he didn’t do anything. It was like I didn’t do it. It was very scary.”
Fraser said Foster then pushed him backward and the two wrestled. Fraser eventually gained the upper hand and delivered a number of blows, striking Foster in the face with his fist. According to Fraser, he then got up and went to leave, but Foster grabbed him from behind. He told jurors he turned around and saw a horrifying sight.
“It looked like he was laughing, only his mouth was full of blood,” Fraser said. “It was very, very scary. It just sent a chill down me. It was like looking at the devil up close.”
Fraser said he once again began punching Foster in the face, but added it was not stopping him.
“It was like I was hitting a mannequin or a robot,” he said. “It had no effect at all.”
Fraser said he remembers pulling a small fishing knife from his pocket, but said he then blacked out, waking up four hours later to find Foster lying on top of him, dead.
Fraser said he fled the trailer in his stocking feet and alerted neighbours, asking them to call 911.
Court has previously heard that alert was made at about 9:30 p.m. Fraser said his altercation with Foster took place at about 5:15 p.m.
Last week, a forensic pathologist testified about Foster’s injuries, which included multiple stab wounds and a number of broken bones in his face — damage the pathologist believed had been done with a blunt object rather than a fist.
In his testimony, Fraser made no mention of striking Foster’s face with anything other than his fists.
Closing arguments are expected to take place as early as Thursday and jury deliberations could begin before the weekend.
Crown prosecutors are Camille Cook and Alex Janse. Defence lawyer is Jay Michi.