KOOPMANS TRIAL: Victim describes shooting in Koopmans trial

The John Ike Koopmans murder trial continued today with testimony from key witness Bradley Martin.
Image Credit: istock photo

PENTICTON - A Penticton courtroom heard Bradley Martin describe how he was shot in a residence near Princeton on March 30, 2013, as the trial of accused murderer John Koopmans continued today.

“I looked down and found blood pouring down my chest," Martin said, taking a long pause. “I realized what I had heard was a gunshot. I looked around the room to see where it came from. I saw John Ike Koopmans, glaring at me with a gun still perched on his lap, still turned on me.”

Martin was staying at the double wide modular home the night of the shootings. He told court Koopmans arrived at the door and exchanged warm greetings with Rose Fox, who also lived there along with Keith Wharton. Martin said he was watching television in the living room at the time, and returned to a show he was interested in while the others congregated in the master bedroom.

Not long after, he heard voices raised in anger coming from the bedroom and went back to investigate. Martin told court the three of them were his friends, and he wanted to try and stop the arguing.

Wharton and Fox were on the bed, while Koopmans sat at the computer desk. They were arguing about who was responsible for a break and enter that had recently occurred on Koopman’s property, with Koopman accusing Wharton of being involved, something he was “vehemently denying.”

Martin noticed Koopmans had grease on his face, and offered to get a rag for him. He had been standing in the doorway of the bedroom, and as he turned to leave for the bathroom, Martin told the court he “heard his ears ringing.”

“Half my body went numb,” he said, and looking down saw blood appear on his chest.

Martin went on to describe his flight from the house, with his dog at his side. He hid in a lean-to on the property, and realized he didn’t have much cover. Barefoot and without a coat, he made his way to Old Hedley Road where he was able to flag down Lisa Haigh, who was making her way home from Princeton that night.

Haigh, who also testified Tuesday, Feb. 4, said she was driving home, having left Princeton just after 9:30 p.m. when she saw Martin appear on the left side of the road. She noticed blood on his right arm and heard him tell her he’d been shot and needed help.

Haigh turned on her cellphone and called 911, getting cut off at one point but eventually connecting with police. Not knowing Martin, or what danger might lay outside her vehicle, she refused to let him in the car but backed away from the property entrance with Martin making his way alongside.

At one point she advised him of a figure she noted moving around on the property, which caused Martin considerable agitation.

They eventually ended up a few hundred metres up the road towards Princeton, where Martin collapsed against a telephone pole. Police arrived moments later.

Serious Crime Unit Sgt. Joanne Skrine, a 29-year member of the RCMP, testified to two meetings with Martin in Kelowna General Hospital on April 2 and 5, 2013. At the April 5 meeting, Martin identified a photo out of a collection given him for viewing.

Martin told court he had been living on the Wharton property five months prior to the shooting, and considered everyone living there to be his friend.

He first met Koopmans on the property, where he understood Koopmans to be a friend of Keith Wharton, also helping him with the welding business.

Martin said three days before the shooting he had last seen Koopmans at Wharton's, removing vehicles from the property. He told court Koopmans and Wharton were experiencing differences of opinion over Wharton’s involvement in an apparent break-in two months earlier.

“He thought Keith had something to do with it. It was discussed many times,” Martin said.

Martin said he considered his relationship with the accused to be “all right,” calling Koopmans “kind, generous, soft-spoken and hard working.”

Bradley Martin continues his testimony tomorrow.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at sarstad@infonews.ca or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email mjones@infonews.ca or call 250-718-2724.

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