Teen accused of murder discussed stabbing before incident, witness testifies

A close friend of a boy accused of murder told a Courtenay courtroom Friday that he and the accused were in a "deep conversation ...."

A close friend of a boy accused of second-degree murder told a Courtenay courtroom Friday that he and the accused were in a “deep conversation … how you wouldn’t want to stab someone” hours before James Denton was killed last year.

The B.C. Supreme Court courtroom, which has been filled to capacity with friends and family of Denton and the accused since the trial began June 4, heard how the friend and accused were drinking near the Vanier track before and while they attended the nearby Rhythm on the Rock Music Festival on July 23.

As Crown prosecutor Gordon Baines noted in his opening statement, Denton, 19, was stabbed twice last July — once in the left armpit and once in the left lower back — near the entrance to G.P. Vanier Secondary School following the conclusion of the day-long music festival at the nearby Comox Valley Exhibition Grounds.

Baines added Denton collapsed almost immediately and was unresponsive. He later died of the two stab wounds at St. Joseph’s General Hospital in Comox.

The witness testified while he and the accused were taking shots out of a 26-ounce bottle of whisky, they began their conversation. He explained to Crown counsel that they were “talking about life — how things happen really quick. How you wouldn’t want to stab someone because you can mess up someone’s life so quickly.”

He also told Crown he knew the accused to own a buck knife but was unsure at the time if he was carrying it on him.

The witness confirmed he was “pretty drunk” after he and the accused returned about four times back and forth from the festival to the track area to finish the bottle of alcohol, and confirmed to Crown he believed the accused was drunk.

The suspect, dressed in a white dress shirt and black pants, avoided eye contact with the gallery but scribbled notes on a notepad and looked up at the witness as he sat in the prisoner’s dock to the right of his lawyer, Victoria-based Michael Mulligan.

The 16-year-old accused cannot be identified because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

During cross-examination, Mulligan asked the witness if, while being confronted by a larger, older group of boys near the intersection of Schellinck Drive and Headquarters Road, if it was “pretty scary for the group of boys?”

“Yes,” the witness replied, and confirmed he believed the larger group was going to fight them.

Monday, court heard from two RCMP witnesses — Staff Sgt. Andrew Isles and Sgt. Paul West, both of whom were on duty and attended the incident July 23.

Isles testified that about an hour before the stabbing, he stopped Denton, who was standing on the side of Headquarters Road urinating into a ditch, during regular patrols of the area.

Denton produced a valid driver’s licence and Isles noted Denton “was in good spirits” during the course of their four-minute conversation.

“He told me he had about four to five beers. I was assessing his sobriety and he was telling me he was very excited about a job he just got with BC Hydro,” he said, as some friends and family members in the gallery began to cry.

“Mr. Denton had been drinking, but I had not considered him to be drunk,” Isles added.

Mulligan, during cross-examination, told court Denton’s blood-alcohol level, which was taken at the hospital later in the evening, was 172 mg per 100 ml of blood, more than double the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle.

Mulligan questioned Isles on the degree of impairment of someone with that blood-alcohol reading, which Isles said depends on a variety of factors, but could include slurred speech, bloodshot eyes and emotional highs and lows.

West told court he rode with Denton in the back of the ambulance for the 10-minute ride to the hospital after he initially attended the scene because he was concerned with the “very poor prognosis (of Denton).”

Denton did not show any signs of life while lying on the ground near the intersection, West testified.

Crown counsel was expected to present two more witnesses Tuesday, followed by closing statements later this week by he and Mulligan. Crown previously indicated he would seek an adult sentence if the accused is convicted.

photos@comoxvalleyrecord.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

HIGHLAND sECONDARY scHOOL comox
COVID-19 exposure at sixth Comox Valley school in past eight days

Island Health has posted an exposure alert at a sixth Comox Valley… Continue reading

Artist Sandra Meigs will be the next speaker in NIC’s online 2021 Artist Talk series, appearing virtually on Friday, March 5 at 1 pm. For the full schedule and link to attend the Artist Talk Online Series, visit https://nicart.tickit.ca/. (Photo: The Glass Ticker (2017) — 15’ X 9’ X 5’, wood, enamel, lights, aluminum, glass, automata. Photo by Toni Hafkenscheid.)
Celebrated artist and mentor joins North Island College Artist Talk series

North Island College’s virtual 2021 Artist Talk series welcomes Sandra Meigs, past… Continue reading

The Coast Range makes a spectacular backdrop for orca heading towards Discovery Passage of Campbell River Saturday, Feb. 27, 2021. Photo by Frank Neil
Island wildlife viewers thrilled by close view of passing Orca pod

Group gives wildlife photographers a classic opportunity to view them off Campbell River shoreline

Dasher is back home with mom Christine Girvin thanks to some help from BC Ferries staff. Photo supplied
The cat came back, with help from Comox ferry staff

After Dasher made a dash, ferry staff found her and got her home safe

A rendering of the Denman Green plans for the Kirk Road site. Image, DHA/Ronan Design
Denman Green finds new site for housing

Facing COVID delays, the project reached expiration date on initial site

A health worker holds a vial of AstraZeneca vaccine to be administered to members of the police at a COVID-19 vaccination center in Mainz, Germany, Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. The federal state of Rhineland-Palatinate, start with the vaccination of police officers in internal police vaccination centers. (Andreas Arnold/dpa via AP)
B.C. officials to unveil new details of COVID vaccination plan Monday

Seniors and health-care workers who haven’t gotten their shot are next on the list

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A boat caught fire in Ladysmith Harbour on Saturday morning. (Photo submitted)
Search underway for missing woman after boat catches fire in Ladysmith harbour

A large boat caught fire on the morning of Saturday, Feb. 27

An investigation is underway after a man was shot and killed by Tofino RCMP in Opitsaht. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man shot and killed by RCMP near Tofino, police watchdog investigating

Investigation underway by Independent Investigations Office of British Columbia.

B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver on Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s compromise on in-person worship at three churches called ‘absolutely unacceptable’

Would allow outdoor services of 25 or less by Langley, Abbotsford and Chilliwack churches

Photo: Lt. Sandy Pridmore, MARS Darlene Banerd, MARS, Warren Warttig and Captain Rob Stevens show the new automatic external defibrillator (AED) that will be located at the MARS facilities located at 1331 William Beach Road, Black Creek. Photo supplied
Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society adds AED to Williams Beach Road location

Submitted Mountainaire Avian Rescue Society (MARS) has collaborated with the Comox Firefighters… Continue reading

Baldy Mountain Resort was shut down on Saturday after a fatal workplace accident. (Baldy Mountain picture)
Jasmine and Gwen Donaldson are part of the CAT team working to reduce stigma for marginalized groups in Campbell River. Photo by Marc Kitteringham, Campbell River Mirror
Jasmine’s story: Stigma can be the hardest hurdle for those overcoming addiction

Recovering B.C. addict says welcome, connection and community key for rebuilding after drug habit

Most Read