A man accused of stabbing his friend to death while visiting his home in the Kamloops RV Park could be heard on tape the night in question claiming to neighbours he acted in self-defence.
The jury trial of 56-year-old Stephen George Fraser, charged with second-degree murder in connection with the Feb. 11, 2017, death of Cody Foster, 26, began in B.C. Supreme Court in Kamloops Wednesday, with the Crown laying out its case and calling its first witnesses.
Entered into evidence was a video recording of Fraser saying he felt threatened, “thought I was a dead man” and “he was going to kill me.” He can also be heard claiming the victim was an Independent Soldier, that he was defending himself and that he “bonked” Foster with a knife.
The Crown alleges that Fraser killed Foster in Foster’s home in the RV park in Dallas, stabbing him in the face and neck with a knife.
“The knife that was used to kill him was broken into six pieces, three of which were embedded in his body,” said prosecutor Camille Cook, noting Foster’s body was discovered by neighbours and that there was a significant amount of blood in the home.
She said the act inflicted blunt force trauma to Foster’s face, breaking his jaw and orbital bone.
The Crown is calling 14 witnesses to the stand during the course of the trial — a list that includes residents of the RV park who encountered Foster and the accused that day, RCMP officers who collected evidence and forensic experts who will help interpret that evidence.
The trial began with the Crown calling four people who were the first to discover Foster’s body.
Under questioning from Crown prosecutor Alex Janse, both Jeffrey Nielson Jr. and his then-girlfriend Kaitlyn Marbeiter said they were staying with Nielson’s parents at their lot in the park when they heard a loud thumping noise on the side of the trailer.
A man was standing outside and seemed “frantic” and “out of sorts” saying he had been stabbed, needed help and that his friend had been stabbed, Neilson Jr. told the court.
Marbeiter said the man’s shirt was covered in blood.
Neilson Jr. said he approached the man, whom he identified in court as Fraser, and asked him to take him to his friend.
Neilson Jr. and Marbeiter both testified that Fraser led them to a small trailer and indicated his wounded friend was inside. Nielson Jr. said Fraser did not go in with him, which Neilson Jr. said he found odd as he assumed they were going to render medical assistance.
Upon entering the trailer, Nielson Jr. said he saw the victim and realized the man was dead, noting his face was pale. Marbeiter said she checked for a pulse, but found nothing.
After making the discovery, Nielson Jr. said he left the trailer and began yelling at Fraser to get on the ground — a command with which Fraser immediately complied. Nielson Jr. said he then put his knees onto Fraser’s back and neck to restrain him until police arrived.
It was at this time, Marbeiter said, they began asking the man what happened and she began recording the video, which she later gave to police.
Upon cross-examination by defence lawyer Jay Michi, Nielson Jr. said the accused was “speaking gibberish” while on the ground, uttering words along the lines of “I had to defend himself” and “I bonked him.” He said Fraser also mentioned the Independent Soldiers.
“Those comments, Independent Soldiers, did that mean anything to you?” Michi asked. “Can you tell the jury what your understanding of those words are?”
“Independent Soldiers is a criminal organization, as far as I’m aware,” Neilson Jr. replied.
The Crown is expected to close its case by next Wednesday, at which time the defence may choose to enter evidence.
Fraser has pleaded not guilty to the second-degree murder.
In its case, the Crown must prove Fraser meant to kill Foster or inflict bodily harm that would likely cause Foster’s death.