Kyle Barber killing ‘self defence,’ judge told
The lawyer for 24-year-old Albert Jacob Jackman says his client was using a reasonable amount of force to protect himself against an armed man, when he stabbed Aldergrove resident Kyle Barber several times during a struggle over a loaded 12-gauge shotgun on March 28, 2009.
Brian Coleman was making his closing arguments in the B.C. Supreme Court trial of Jackman, who is charged with first degree murder in the death of the 24-year-old Barber, who died of blood loss after the stabbing.
Jackman’s associate, Gregory Michael Barrett, 32, is on trial with Jackman, but on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
It is not a jury trial, which suits Coleman.
“This is a case where emotion has to be kept out of it,” the lawyer told B.C. Supreme Court Justice Sunni Stromberg-Stein during his presentation Tuesday morning (April 26) in a New Westminster courtroom.
“This case is about the facts.”
Those facts, according to Coleman, show that Jackman and Barrett were not armed when they went to visit Barber and his girlfriend at their Fraser Highway home.
Jackman was dressed like a “preppy,” according to the girlfriend’s testimony, Coleman noted.
“These men did not go there with the intent of harming anyone,” Coleman said.
The two men wanted to know if the occupants of the house knew anything about a marijuana grow rip nearby at a location controlled by Barrett.
While they were talking, they say Barber suddenly ran to his bedroom and tried to grab a 12-gauge shotgun with a pistol grip from under his bed.
Jackman managed to take the shotgun away and left it lying on the floor when he took Barber down to the basement, where some marijuana plants were under cultivation.
According to the defence, Jackman punched Barber in the mouth when Barber made an insulting comment about a dead friend of Jackman’s.
They then went back upstairs to the bedroom, where Barber got a safe with some cash.
That was when Barber threw or swung a portable heater at Jackman and made a second attempt to pick up the shotgun, Coleman said.
Jackman grabbed a knife from the top of a bedroom dresser and a “wrestling match over the gun” ensued, Coleman said.
“Mr. Jackman is confronted with a real threat and is entitled to defend himself,” Coleman said.
At the time Barber was 6’ and 200 lbs. while Jackman was 5’10” and 170 lbs., Coleman added.
“Ultimately you have to decide what happened in the bedroom on the second occasion,” Coleman told the judge.
The girlfriend has told a different story, saying Jackman used scissors to punch Barber in the face and later pursued a fleeing Barber, stabbing him from behind.
“She is not a reliable historian,” Coleman said.
“She is seeking vengeance.”
Coleman said forensic evidence shows Barber suffered a split lip and cuts to the inside of his mouth that would occur when a person is hit in the face with a fist.
There were no injuries that would indicate scissors, he said.
Coleman said the girlfriend was lying when she claimed that the marijuana growing operation in the basement was for personal use and that she bought the 12-gauge shotgun and modified it with a pistol grip because she planed to go deer hunting with her dad.
“At the very least, she is grossly exaggerating the facts,” Coleman said.
“It would be dangerous in the extreme to rely on that evidence.”
The girlfriend also claimed that Jackman choked her boyfriend until Barber was blue in the face, but there was no evidence of burst blood vessels in the eye, bruising on the neck or injuries to the larynx that would result from that kind of strangulation, Coleman argued.
Jackman has maintained that he didn’t deliberately stab Barber.
Without addressing that directly, Coleman did say that while some of his client’s testimony was “self-serving,” it was “the most accurate version of what transpired in that room.”
Jackman cannot be not guilty of first degree murder, which requires proof of a planned and deliberate killing, Coleman maintained.
“He [Jackman] was simply defending himself and did not use more force than necessary.”
Coleman also said the testimony of co-accused Barrett, who has his own lawyer, can’t be trusted, either.
Barrett, Coleman said, did not give police an accurate account, and has tried to distance himself from what happened by shifting blame onto Jackman.
The trial continues.