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Accused takes stand in own defence at North Okanagan murder trial

Investigators at the crime scene on Trinity Valley Road June 20, 2014, the day after the alleged shooting.
September 19, 2016 - 1:37 PM

VERNON - The man accused of murdering a Lumby woman says he doesn’t remember shooting her.

Howard Everett Krewson, 57, is charged with second degree murder in the shooting death of local teacher Linda Marie Stewart, also known as Linda Ross. He took the stand today, Sept. 19, in Vernon Supreme Court and testified they drank and smoked marijuana together throughout much of the day June 19, 2014 and that he doesn't remember anything beyond a certain point in the afternoon. 

Krewson began his testimony by telling the six man, six woman jury a bit about himself. Led by defence lawyer Donna Turko’s questions, Krewson said he was born in California and made his way to Vernon in 2008. He met Ross when she hired him to put shoes on her horses, worked for her on and off for years, and eventually entered into a romantic relationship with her around June of 2013. He said they shared a love of riding horses and animals in general, including their dogs.

He said the morning of June 19, 2014 began with a phone call around 6 a.m. informing them that Ross’ good friend had passed away of cancer.

“She really took it rough,” Krewson said.

After the call, they shared a relaxer — a hand-rolled, marijuana cigarette, Krewson said. He then went outside to do some chores and came back inside, where he and Ross finished the better part of another marijuana cigarette. He described the marijuana as B.C. bud, 'the best you can get' and very potent.

The two then went out for breakfast together in Lumby, did some grocery shopping, and stopped at the liquor store. Ross purchased a 24 box of Corona, a box of wine, and a box or two of wine coolers, Krewson said. He said they smoked another marijuana cigarette and drank some wine when they got home.

They ate lunch around noon and by 1 p.m., Krewson said he drank three glasses of wine.

Krewson said he spent the day in and out of the house looking after the animals and working on various projects. Between 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., he said he drank seven to nine beers and smoked one to two marijuana cigarettes an hour. He said Ross was smoking and drinking as well. 

Later that afternoon, he was feeling anxious about preparations for a friend’s wedding and Ross told him to sit down on the couch and relax, Krewson said. They drank more wine around 4:45 p.m., he said, and Ross gave him a sleeping pill to help him relax.

After that, Krewson said he went into the kitchen and found more pills on the counter. He said he didn’t know if he took them but testified he “took something.”

“That’s where it kinda started going bizarre on me,” he said. “I… kinda faded from there.”

The next thing he remembers is waking up on the couch and someone talking to him before his memory faded again. At this point in his testimony, Krewson began sobbing heavily. 

After that, he remembers waking up, being told he was in the hospital, and a man telling him what happened.

“I didn’t believe it,” Krewson said.

Asked by his lawyer if he remembered any sort of disagreement that afternoon with Ross, he answered no. She also asked him if he remembered helping her put the dogs in the car, having a gun in his hand, shooting Linda, or shooting himself, all of which he replied ‘no’ through a fit of sobs.

He said the gun siezed by police belongs to him and has sentimental value. He said he used it for target practice and that it is easy to operate.  

Turko began Monday’s proceedings by telling the jury Krewson could not form the intent to kill Ross because he was under the influence of drugs and alcohol.

Under cross examination by Crown counsel Shirley Meldrum, Krewson was asked to go back over the sequence of events, explaining exactly what he consumed and when. He had trouble remembering exact times, but said he remembered Ross giving him half a ‘sleeper’ and then taking another pill about 15 minutes later. He said the last thing he remembered before fading out was putting a slice of lime into his beer.

“I don’t remember a whole lot after I took those pills,” he said.

He testified it wasn’t unusual for him to drink that much alcohol, or smoke that much marijuana — something he did roughly two or three times a week.

Meldrum suggested to Krewson that he had a fight with Ross that afternoon, and that she told him he should leave. Krewson testified he did not recall that.

Meldrum also referenced a phone call Ross had with a friend, and suggested to Krewson he was worried the police would be called. She suggested he grabbed his gun and stood behind her vehicle to stop her from leaving. Krewson continued to respond he did not remember.

Last week, paramedics testified that Ross was found dead in a car outside the home, while Krewson was inside with a gunshot wound to his face. 

— This story was updated at 4 p.m., Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 to include details from the afternoon court session. 

— This story was updated at 6:44 p.m. Sept. 19, 2016 to correct Howard Krewson's age to 57 years old. 


To contact a reporter for this story, email Charlotte Helston or call 250-309-5230 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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