With Crown and defence closing arguments and instructions from Judge Robin Baird complete, the jury in Kevin Douglas Addison’s trial is deliberating whether he’s guilty of murder.
In B.C. Supreme Court Tuesday, Baird told jurors that Addison, 49, is charged with the first degree murders of Michael Lunn and Fred McEachern and attempted murders of Earl Kelly and Tony Sudar. The charges stem from an April 30, 2014 shooting at Western Forest Products’ mill in downtown Nanaimo
Prior to instructing jurors, Baird summarized Crown and defence cases and said there was common ground.
It was clear, Baird said, that on the day of the incident, Addison walked from his residence on Kennedy Street to the mill on 31 Port Dr. He had a modified 12-gauge shotgun concealed within the right leg of his blue jeans.
When Addison arrived on site, he shot and killed Lunn and entered the plant’s administration office where the shotgun was fired a number of times, which resulted in McEachern’s death and injuries to Kelly and Sudar.
Baird told jurors that during Addison’s testimony, he admitted to shooting and killing Lunn without provocation, however he claimed that he had no intent to kill.
Addison also acknowledged that McEachern was killed and Kelly was injured from shots from his shotgun, although he claimed the discharge of shots was unintentional. The gun went off twice when Addison was struggling with Andy Vanger, a mill manager.
Addison also denied that he shot at, or intended to kill Sudar and conceded that Sudar must have been hit by discharge from the gun, but Addison said he did not point it or shoot it at Sudar. He said he didn’t recall any aspect of the situation that might have resulted in a shot being fired in a northerly direction.
Baird said it was Crown’s summation that Addison was suffering from depression, but he knew what he was doing and acted with “precision and deliberation.” Addison had a long-standing grudge against Western Forest Products and in particular, Lunn, McEachern and Vanger. Addison was under the impression Lunn, a mill union representative, had failed to adequately represent him in grievances against the mill. Addison thought Lunn and Vanger had made a deal to ensure he wouldn’t be hired back after a 2008 mill closure. Addison thought McEachern had tried to obstruct him from getting a job as a cut-off saw operator around 2008, preferring to hire more junior workers, including the plant manager’s son. Addison also learned that McEachern was doing union work that Addison thought he should’ve been recalled to do.
Baird said the Crown is arguing that this added to his sense of injustice. Over the years, the profound sense of disillusionment turned to anger and then murder. The shootings were entirely intentional and motivated by a desire for revenge. The shootings were planned and deliberate, including the sawing off the barrel of his shotgun, cutting off the stock and cutting a hole in his jeans’ pocket all in an effort to approach the mill site undetected. He even filed the barrel so it wouldn’t scratch his leg. Addison grabbed a handful of additional cartridges, which Crown argued is evidence of his intention to reload the shotgun during his planned rampage, if it became necessary.
During closing arguments yesterday, John Gustafson, Addison’s legal counsel, said his client didn’t knowingly commit murder and should be convicted of manslaughter.
Manslaughter, Baird told jurors, is defined as a homicide caused by a dangerous, unlawful act. Baird said he had no doubt that to shoot a 12-gauge shotgun at close range in an unprovoked manner at a person, on a mill site, is an unlawful act.
Gustafson isn’t asking for an outright acquittal on the charge involving Lunn or McEachern, but of guilty of manslaughter, Baird said.
The six-man, six-woman jury is currently sequestered during deliberations.