After Gerald Stanley’s son gave his version of events in the morning, a man who was with Colten Boushie the day he died testified Wednesday afternoon as Stanley’s second-degree murder trial continued in a Battleford, Sask. courtroom.
Eric Meechance, 22, told court he went drinking and swimming with Boushie and several friends on Aug. 9, 2016.
He said they began drinking at Boushie’s grandmother’s house out of a 1.75-litre bottle of Crown Royal, and a few of them began shooting cans as target practice with a .22 rifle from one of the friend’s grey Ford Escape.
Meechance said the shooting behind the house was the reason spent casings and live rounds were found on the floor of the SUV by RCMP investigators.
Later, the five friends went to the riverbank near Maymont, Sask. to swim for about an hour, while continuing to drink.
He said another man, Cassidy Cross, was driving the vehicle when they left the river. They hit a culvert on their way back, damaging the front driver’s side tire — which forced them to continue driving on a rim.
Meechance said they decided to keep driving as long as they could, at one point trying to remove the muffler because it had started dragging on the road.
Eventually the group drove onto a farm where he said Cross tried to break into a red truck, asking for something hard to break the window. Meechance said he passed the .22 rifle from the backseat to Cross, but the rifle’s stock broke off when he attempted to use the butt.
They left the farm, and several of the occupants fell asleep. Meechance said Boushie was sleeping in the front passenger seat when Cross pulled the SUV into Stanley’s yard.
Meechance told the jury Cross stopped by a truck in the yard and looked through it, then went and stood on an ATV by a nearby shed.
“But it didn’t move a foot,” he said.
Meechance said they heard yelling, prompting Cross to jump back into the SUV and put it in reverse. Meechance said that’s when the windshield was struck with a hammer on the driver’s side, damaging the glass.
Meechance said Cross was crouching to try and see as they attempted to escape, but the wheel driving on a rim wouldn’t give them traction. He said the dragging wheel caused them to collide with a blue SUV on the property, at which point their vehicle started to smoke from under the hood.
He said they made it a few more feet before the SUV wouldn’t move anymore.
Meechance said he and Cross got out of the vehicle and ran. As they did so, he said he heard two gunshots and thought they were directed at him.
“You hear a whistling sound or whatever,” he said.
He noted he didn’t find out Boushie had been killed until he was in police custody.
WITNESS BREAKS DOWN DURING DEFENCE QUESTIONING
Defence lawyer Scott Spencer questioned several parts of Meechance’s stories during his cross-examination of the Crown witness, focusing on the rifle and whether the group were attempting to steal vehicles.
Spencer noted how Meechance had told media in the days after the shooting they were simply seeking help with a flat tire.
“I think you are mixing up trying to steal stuff and not getting away with it,” Spencer said at one point.
Meechance did say they had “checked” a truck on the other farm, but didn’t clarify what he meant.
He broke into tears when shown pictures of Boushie’s body, forcing the court to take a brief recess.
Court was adjourned for the day shortly after the recess ended.
Stanley’s second-degree murder trial will resume Thursday morning at 10 a.m. with testimony from Cross and the two women who were also in the SUV.
—With files from Kevin Martel