A Saskatoon judge must decide whether a man wielding a sawed-off rifle shot Tyler Applegate in his yard under intentional or accidental circumstances.
Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Richard Elson heard closing arguments Tuesday, in which the Crown stated Applegate, a 27-year-old father of five, did nothing to “startle or disturb” the gunman.
Dallin Singharath, 21, is on trial for second-degree murder related to the July 22, 2017, shooting in the Westview neighbourhood.
In an agreed statement of facts filed during the trial, Singharath admitted to firing a gun identified as a cut-down Lakefield Mossberg Mark 2, a bolt action .22 calibre rifle.
Crown prosecutor Cory Bliss referenced the testimony of Kathy Cardinal, Applegate’s partner at the time of the shooting and when he died three weeks later on Aug. 10.
Cardinal recalled a man urinating on their fence near 33rd Street West and Avenue W North. She said her brother-in-law and Applegate chased the man away, but a short time later, a black Nissan Truck entered their back lane and three men got out.
Cardinal said one man wore a black bandana on his face. Bliss argued Singharath concealed his appearance because “this was going to be more than fisticuffs, and Mr. Singharath knew that.”
Applegate, according to his partner, approached the group with a chain dog leash wrapped around his arm while carrying a child’s bike to defend himself.
Singharath pulled the trigger, and the bullet struck Applegate in the abdomen “on the left side where the heart is,” Bliss said. It wasn’t a “glancing shot” or one “that nicks or barely hits him,” he added.
“He knew what he was doing when he fired that gun.”
Singharath didn’t testify in his own defence.
The Crown argued that there was no evidence of Singarath trying to intimidate Applegate or anyone else at the home. Court also heard no witness testimony of the accused calling the shooting an accident after the fact.
“What is unsaid in this case speaks volumes,” Bliss said.
Defence lawyer Laura Mischuk cautioned the judge against determining guilt from Singharath not characterizing the incident as unintentional or accidental.
“It’s more so an absence of evidence.”
Mischuk conceded a manslaughter verdict would be the proper outcome for the case, stating the Crown failed to prove Singharath intentionally fired the gun.
She also said there is no evidence the gun was intentionally aimed at Applegate, and it could have been pointed toward someone else. Justice Elson stated the act of intending to kill one person, but accidentally killing another still constitutes murder.
The judge’s decision is expected June 18.
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