Defence highlights alleged inconsistencies
When 4-year old Jeremiah Barnes was fatally shot on 15 February, 2010, at the Hell Esso station, aspects of the incident were captured on closed circuit television.
Jeremiah’s mother, Dorlisa Barnes, was in her car at the time with her husband at the wheel and their two little boys in the back seat. But she was never shown the CCTV footage until this past Wednesday, after she gave evidence in the trial of Devon Anglin, who is charged with Jeremiah’s murder and the attempted murder of his father, Andy Barnes.
There was no sound accompanying the four-minute video segment Mrs. Barnes watched with Justice Howard Cooke, attorneys and observers in the gallery. Her weeping was quiet.
Crown Prosecutor Andrew Radcliffe said he wanted Mrs. Barnes to see the video before she was cross-examined by defence attorney John Ryder.
Mr. Ryder reminded her the reason she gave for saying the gunman was Devon Anglin was that she had seen his entire face and had known him for years and there was no obstacle between her and him. He asked her which hand the man was holding the gun in and whether he was holding anything in the other hand.
“I saw the gun, I saw him and anything else didn’t really matter,” Mrs. Barnes said.
The attorney suggested she was wrong about seeing the gunman’s face because it had been concealed by a mask or handkerchief. Mrs. Barnes disagreed.
Earlier, when questioned by Mr. Radcliffe, she told the court that her husband, Andy Barnes, was pumping gas and she was in the car attending to the children. After Andy got back in the car, Devon came around the corner and opened fire.
Asked where she had been looking at the time, she said “I was looking directly in his direction, praise God.” She said she was looking at his face; he had on a hoody sweater jacket with the hood up over his head. The gas station was lit up and it was clear as day. She recognised Devon as soon as she saw him. She said Devon gave her a long stare. She described him as cock-eyed: both eyes looked funny, but mainly the right one.
She said she was terrified and started screaming. She told Andy “Drive!”
“We managed to get away. Andy saved three of our lives, but it resulted in the death of our baby,” she told the court.
Asked if she had remained sitting upright, Mrs. Barnes said no: “After he raised the gun and shots were fired, I dived under the dashboard for protection.” She said at least six shots were fired.
Her husband, who gave evidence before her, had told the court he saw Devon come around the corner with a handkerchief around his neck. He said Devon had a gun in one hand and was pulling the handkerchief up over his face with the other hand.
Mr. Ryder specifically asked Mrs. Barnes if the gunman’s hand was not obstructing his face. She said no.
He asked her about the statement she gave police in which she said she got out of the car and talked with someone while Andy was pumping gas. He pointed out the CCTV did not show that. Mrs. Barnes said she never said that.
Justice Cooke asked how this point affected identification. Mr. Ryder said it went to reliability.
“I don’t know if this so-called inconsistency touches on the identification,” the judge said.
Mr. Ryder then asked about what Mrs. Barnes had told police after the shooting. It pertained to a car that had pulled into the station and who was in it.
Asked if she had specifically said that the person on the driver’s side looked like the car’s owner, she agreed, “I could have said that.”
Mr. Radcliffe concluded the questioning by asking how she felt when she gave police a statement the night of the shooting. She said words could not describe it. “I know I was not capable of recalling all the events in detail,” she said.
Earlier, she had told the court that she had known Devon Anglin for 10 to 15 years, as they lived in the same community and she knew his family. She said she saw him every couple of days, the way you cross people in stores or on the street. There were no hostilities between them.
“I never did anything as far as I know to him and his family,” she said.
After Justice Cooke said Mrs. Barnes was free to go, he told her, “On behalf of everybody sitting here – everybody – please accept our deepest sympathy on the loss of your child.”