The jury in Gerald Stanley’s second-degree murder trial returned to a Battleford courtroom Friday morning to listen to a replay of the farmer and his son’s testimony.
Colten Boushie, 22, was shot and killed on Stanley’s farm near Biggar on Aug. 9, 2016.
While jury deliberations are carried out in secret, the panel of seven women and five men requested the replay to assist in their considerations of Stanley’s fate.
The request came to Chief Justice Martel Popescul late Thursday evening, when the jury asked to re-hear Sheldon Stanley’s description of the moments after he exited the house and heard the third gunshot.
They also asked to listen to Gerald Stanley’s recounting of where he was when he fired his first self-described warning shot and beyond.
Crown prosecutor Bill Burge focused on those testimonies in his closing arguments Thursday morning, noting they contradicted each other.
Gerald Stanley told court Monday he ran to the grey SUV Boushie and his friends were in on Aug. 9, 2016. He said he ran because he experienced “pure terror” in thinking his wife was underneath the vehicle.
However, Sheldon Stanley’s testimony last week described a different chain of events in those crucial moments.
He told the jury he ran into the house to get his truck keys to chase after the intruders. As he went into the house, he heard two warning shots.
Sheldon told court what he saw when he went back outside.
“As I came down the stairs I could see my father walking up beside the grey Ford Escape,” he said.
“I remember looking into the backseat and then back towards my truck again … and that’s when I heard the third shot.”
Burge suggested to the jury Gerald Stanley wasn’t concerned for his wife’s life because the riding lawnmower she was on may have been on the opposite side of the house — contrary to RCMP evidence photos taken two days later.
He said the Crown theory was Stanley pulled the trigger on the fatal shot with purpose, while Stanley’s defence team insisted the gun went off accidentally due to a hang fire.
Popescul and the lawyers discussed the possibility of selecting the specific portions of testimony the jury had asked for, but decided it would become too time intensive.
Instead, the jury was directed to listen to the entire testimonies of the two Stanleys through Friday morning. Sheldon Stanley’s testimony was around one hour and 15 minutes long, while Gerald Stanley’s clocked in at two hours and 20 minutes.
Popescul told the jury in his official instructions they may come back with a guilty verdict on second-degree murder if they deem Stanley killed Boushie with intent to injure.
He also gave them the option of downgrading the offence to manslaughter if they decide Stanley didn’t intend to kill Boushie, but was “careless” with his gun — which Stanley said he thought was empty when the shot went off.
The jury could also acquit Stanley of wrongdoing if they rule the farmer didn’t exhibit a “marked departure” from what a reasonable person would do to ensure the safe care of his firearm given the situation.