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BATTLEFORDS A firearms expert testifying at Gerald Stanley second degree murder trial told the jury unusual happened when Stanley handgun fired on Aug. 9, 2016, but he found no evidence the handgun was broken.
Sheldon Stanley, Gerald Stanley son, previously told court he heard three gunshots on the Stanley farm the day 22 year old Colten Boushie died. He said when he ran from his parent house after hearing the final shot, he saw his father with a gun in one hand and a magazine in the other. According to him, his father said, don know what happened. It just went off. I just wanted to scare them. 2, 2018. Stanley is charged with killing Boushie on Aug. 9, 2016.
Firearms expert Greg Williams, the final Crown witness, told the jury he studied three spent cartridges recovered from Stanley farm and determined they had been fired from a Tokarev handgun RCMP seized from Stanley house. Forensic analysis found Boushie DNA on it.
Two cartridges were found on the ground in Stanley yard, while a third was found in the grey SUV Boushie was sitting in when he died.
Williams told the jury the cartridge from the SUV had an bulge, but that he didn know what caused it.
Gerald Stanley, left, with his defence lawyer Scott Spencer enters Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 2, 2018.
Williams said a bulge could have been caused by an obstruction in the barrel of the gun, but he did not observe any obstruction. He noted that any obstruction could have been blown out by the bullet.
He said another possible explanation was that the ammunition was defective, which could have caused a hang fire a situation in which there is a perceptible delay between when the trigger is pulled and when the bullet is fired. Williams stressed that such an event is rare and that any delay would last less than a second.
Defence lawyer Scott Spencer asked Williams how long he believed a hang fire could last. Williams said the longest hang fire he had ever read about was 28 milliseconds, and he didn imagine any hang fire could last for more than half a second.
Spencer asked whether Stanley ammunition 1953 military surplus stock from Czechoslovakia that had been stored in a shed could have been degraded. Williams agreed that age and storage are both factors in the degradation of ammunition.
Greg Williams, RCMP firearm specialist, leaves Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 2, 2018, after his testimony on Day 5 of Gerald Stanley’s second degree murder trial. Stanley is charged in connection with the shooting death of Colten Boushie on Aug. 9, 2016.
John Ervin, a firearms expert called by the defence, said the bulge on the casing was caused by the bullet firing when the gun was not in battery. In other words, the cartridge was not properly seated in the chamber when it detonated.
Ervin said that, in order for a bulge like the one on the casing to have formed, the gun would have to have been out of alignment to a point where it could not have fired.
simply don know what caused that firearm to discharge, he said.
Ervin said one possibility is a hang fire. He said that while these are rare, they are more common with older ammunition.
not enough evidence to say there was a hang fire, nor is there enough evidence to say there was not a hang fire, Ervin said.
John Ervin, a firearms expert for the defence, leaves Battleford Court of Queen’s Bench on Feb. 2, 2018. Gerald Stanley is on trial for second degree murder in the death of Colten Boushie on Aug. 9, 2016.
Spencer asked Ervin what the longest possible hang fire could be. Ervin said it was impossible to know. He said that in firearm courses, if people pull the trigger and don hear a bang they are instructed to keep holding their guns downrange for 30 to 60 seconds.
Court has heard this week that Boushie was one of five people who got into a grey SUV on Aug. 9, 2016 and drove onto Stanley farm. At least one person in the SUV got out of the vehicle and hopped onto one of Stanley quads. Stanley and his son ran toward the SUV and Sheldon Stanley hit the windshield of the SUV with a hammer. The SUV attempted to leave the yard and collided with a parked vehicle. Two people from the SUV then ran away.
Boushie, who had been drinking that day, was asleep in the SUV. An autopsy report revealed his blood alcohol level exceeded 300 milligrams per cent, which commonly results in symptoms including level of consciousness and reflexes, according to a toxicology report entered as an exhibit in court.
There are differing witness reports about where Boushie was sitting in the SUV when it drove onto Stanley farm, but forensic evidence indicates he was in the driver seat when he was killed by a single gunshot to the head. The bullet entered below his left ear and exited on the right hand side. The bullet that killed him has never been recovered.
Witnesses have offered conflicting testimony about exactly what happened on Stanley farm. One woman who was in the back of the SUV when Boushie was shot said she saw Stanley walk around the SUV with a handgun and shoot Boushie twice in the head. Stanley son, who said he ran into the house to get his truck keys after the SUV drove onto the farm, testified that he heard three gunshots and that, when he saw his father, Gerald Stanley said the gun had gone off. Crown wrapped up its case Friday afternoon. Spencer asked to delay the delivering of his opening statement until Monday.