Accused’s ex-girlfriend says murder victim was threatened

Brian Borden’s former girlfriend tells court he wanted to kill Robert Mackford Bush

Crown witness Tracy Watler told a court on Friday that defendant Brian Borden wanted her to “set up” Robert Mackford Bush to be killed, but he never said why.  

She said “set up” meant help Borden to kill Mr. Bush – “take him to a location, I guess.” 

Ms. Watler said he made the request three or four times, but she never agreed. 

Mr. Bush was fatally shot in his car in West Bay on the night of Sept. 13, 2011. The crown’s case is that Borden was one of two gunmen who did the shooting. Also charged with the murder is David Tamasa, who is accused of providing the ammunition. 

Of three witnesses who gave evidence on Friday, no one mentioned Tamasa. 

Ms. Watler said she had known both Borden and the victim since around 2004-05. She had a brief intimate relationship with Borden, while Mr. Bush was just a good friend. 

Asked if she ever told Mr. Bush about Borden’s threats, she replied, “Yes, Brian asked me to tell Robert when he got out [of prison], he was going to kill him.” 

Asked how Mr. Bush reacted, she said, “I don’t think Robert took it serious.” 

Borden was in Northward Prison from August 2008 until October 2010, during which time Ms. Watler visited him and spoke with him by phone. 

She related an incident that occurred a month or two before Mr. Bush’s death. She said she was living in a two-bedroom apartment with her cousin and Mr. Bush used to come there and then sleep on the sofa when he was too drunk to drive home. Borden would phone her whenever Mr. Bush was there and on this particular night Borden asked her to let him know when Mr. Bush was leaving. 

She said she told him she would let him know, but she did not call him. Instead, she put her phone on silent and put it under her pillow. The next morning, she saw she had four or five missed calls. 

When she spoke to Borden, he told her, “You made mosquitoes bite me up.” She then figured that he had been outside waiting. 

Questioned by defense counsel Trevor Burke, Ms. Watler said she did not tell Mr. Bush that Borden was outside looking for an opportunity to kill him. “I never thought that Brian would stay there all night and I never thought that Robert would leave because he was drunk,” she explained. 

Mr. Burke asked if it ever occurred to her to call the police about Borden’s alleged threats. She said no, because she didn’t want Borden as an enemy. 

He put to her the defense position that the suggestion of Borden threatening to kill Mr. Bush was not true. 

“It is true, to the best of my knowledge,” she replied. 

The crown does not need to prove motive, but lead prosecutor Andrew Radcliffe referred in his opening remarks to the rivalry between two West Bay groups – Birch Tree Hill, which Borden was said to be a part of, and Logwoods, the area where Mr. Bush lived. 

Justice Alexander Henderson is hearing the matter without a jury after both defendants elected trial by judge alone. 

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