January 30, 2015 - 5:03 AM
KAMLOOPS - The last person to see Albert Michell alive — besides the man accused of killing him — says the trio enjoyed a quiet evening drinking a few beers and smoking pot without any conflict.
“Quite frankly, it was a pleasant social evening for everyone,” Colin Gilker told a B.C. Supreme Court trial involving his neighbour's murder.
Cory Bird, 27, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Michell in August 2008.
Court heard he was stabbed 73 times in his home in Lytton.
The Crown has told the jury that it's Bird's second trial.
Gilker, a 61-year-old English instructor, taught at Siska First Nation when Michel was stabbed to death on the reserve.
Gilker, now an adult basic-education instructor at Capilano University in North Vancouver, said he occasionally socialized with Michell.
The two lived in the same apartment building in the Fraser Canyon First Nations community.
On a weekday in early August 2008, Michell asked Gilker for a ride to nearby Boston Bar. Bird joined the two older men for the ride on the Trans-Canada Highway to the community, where Michel picked up 18 beers and a bottle of liqueur.
Gilker, who described Michel as a good neighbour during the two years they lived side by side, accepted an invitation to come to his apartment after the three returned from Boston Bar.
He testified that at Michell’s house, they chatted, drank Heineken beer and smoked marijuana. Gilker estimated he had three beer and two or three puffs from a marijuana pipe, while the other two men had about the same.
Gilker said he went back to his apartment, where he fetched a DVD of the movie "Apocalypse Now." He brought it back to Michell’s place and the three watched the movie until about 11 p.m.
He said he left about halfway through the movie to go home. The next morning, Bird returned the DVD to Gilker’s spouse while he was on the phone some time after 9 a.m.
The mood that evening, Gilker testified, was “sociable, friendly and personable.”
The Crown alleges Bird killed Michell fatally and repeatedly stabbed between the time Gilker left the apartment and 9 a.m. the next day.
Crown lawyer Frank Caputo said during his opening address to the jury last week that Bird hitchhiked across the country after the murder, eventually being taken into custody following a brief standoff with police in Montreal.
He said Bird admitted to officers that he had killed a man in B.C.
Court heard Bird initially told police he was acting in self-defence, but later said that wasn’t true.
News from © The Canadian Press, 2015