PENTICTON - The key witness in the John Ike Koopmans murder trial continued to grapple with defence lawyers under cross-examination today.
Bradley Martin took the witness stand for the third day in Penticton Supreme Court on Friday, March 6. He already told the jury he overheard Koopmans arguing with two other friends, Rose Fox and Keith Wharton in a mobile home in Princeton. When he tried to intervene, he said Koopmans shot him in the chest, but he managed to flee and get help.
Defence lawyer Don Skogstad suggesting what he said about John Koopmans was “complete fiction.”
“I cannot agree with that at all,” Martin replied.
Koopmans is accused of the first degree murders of Wharton and Fox on an industrial property on Old Hedley Road near Princeton on March 30, 2013.
Skogstad was then asked about messages left on his cell phone prior to that day. Martin denied the messages were for him, claiming both Wharton and Fox used his cell phone, to which Skogstad replied Wharton didn’t need to use Martin’s phone because he had his own.
Skogstad then moved on to Martin's state of mind at the time of the murders again. Martin described bizarre circumstances in his initial dealings with police and paramedics responding to the scene. Skogstad asked Martin if he thought the first police officer on scene wanted to harm or kill him.
“He definitely didn’t seem to be looking after my best interests,” Martin said, adding the paramedics weren’t letting him breathe as he was being treated in the ambulance.
Martin also insisted the police officer gave medical advice to the paramedics, which they followed.
Becoming agitated as he spoke, Martin insisted he knew the advice was wrong because of what he remembered in a Grade five first aid course.
“I thought it was very bad advice. For the paramedics to listen to his advice was ludicrous,” Martin said.
Skogstad asked Martin about “undesirable types” who visited the property to see Fox. Martin admitted to one particular individual he didn’t like, but maintained it wasn’t his property so wasn’t up to him to decide who should be there.
Skogstad asked Martin whether he had a hiding place on the property for his valuables to which Martin replied his dog was the only valuable he had, “the rest was garbage.”
A question put to Martin about his participation in the preliminary hearing elicited strong reaction. Martin believed he had been treated like a criminal, because he had been placed in custody in order to ensure his appearance at the hearing. He said participation in that hearing and the present trial put everything in his personal life in jeopardy.
Skogstad also suggested the few days Martin spent in Princeton following his release from the hospital was to “get rid of a firearm,” to which Martin said he didn’t have a firearm.
Crown Prosecutor Frank Dubenski wrapped up Martin’s testimony on re-examination, asking Martin about a number of phone messages that were sent to his cell the day before the shootings. One phone message demanded a call back and one demanded $450. Martin said he did not recall them, adding they were probably for Wharton or Fox.
The trial is expected to resume Monday.
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