The grandmother-in-law of a Saskatoon man charged with first-degree murder says the accused was visiting her in Alberta before flying out to Vancouver three days before the murder.
Iris Kripki said Long Nam Luu, 38, arrived at her home just outside Edmonton on either April 9 or 10, 2004 and flew out to Vancouver on April 12. She showed pictures of the family celebrating Luu’s daughter’s birthday that she testified were taken during that time period.
Called as the only defence witness in the year-long murder trial, she told the judge that she remembers dates that are significant and special. But during cross-examination, the woman couldn’t recall when her grandson-in-law was charged with first-degree murder.
Luu was arrested in March 2012 along with his co-accused, Jonathan Kenneth Dombowsky. The two are on trial alongside a third man, Kenneth Jacob Tingle.
The men are charged in connection to the death of 34-year-old Isho Hana, who was gunned down in the 2100 block of Preston Avenue South on April 15, 2004. Court has heard it was in response to a drug turf war in Saskatoon.
Luu was allegedly involved in what has been described as a “contract killing” on Hana. Neil Yakimchuk, the man who confessed to undercover police officers that he shot Hana, testified that an Asian man named “Jesse” put up $40,000 for the hit and paid him when he returned home to Calgary.
A Crown witness testified that “Jesse” was an alias used by Luu, who he said was a known drug dealer in Saskatoon before he moved to Calgary.
But Kripki said Luu and his common-law partner dropped their kids off at her place and flew out to Vancouver on April 12, returning to her home on April 18. She said she even gave them a card that helped pay for parking at the airport.
“The object was to show that they were in Edmonton and they flew out, and that falls in line with the police officer who said they checked tickets for Vancouver and they were used,” Luu’s lawyer, Morris Bodnar, said outside Saskatoon Court of Queen’s Bench.
Kripki said when Luu was arrested, she realized she had pictures showing Luu was with her in the days leading up to the murder. But she didn’t provide them until about six months later, she told the court.
“You’ve been a little fuzzy on a lot of the dates,” Crown prosecutor Michael Segu said during cross-examination. He asked Kripki if she could have been mistaken about the April 2004 dates in question.
“Absolutely not,” Kripki replied.
Segu then asked why she didn’t go to police with that information right away. She said police never asked about an alibi at the time.
Bodnar closed his case Monday morning, choosing not to call his client to the stand.
“You think of the principals in our legal system and the principal of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. There is no evidence really against Mr. Luu so that’s why I didn’t call evidence,” he said.
The lawyers for Tingle and Dombowsky did not call any evidence. Closing arguments will take place in February.