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Lawyers question witness about North Okanagan man's level of impairment the night of alleged murder

Police attended this rural Trinity Valley Road residence June 19, 2014 to investigate a report of shots fired.
September 16, 2016 - 8:00 PM

VERNON - Testimony in the second degree murder trial of a North Okanagan man today revolved around his level of intoxication the night he allegedly shot his girlfriend.

Howard Everett Krewson is accused in the 2014 shooting death of local teacher Linda Marie Stewart, also known as Linda Ross.

This morning, Sept. 16, Crown counsel Shirley Meldrum called forensic toxicologist Christine Dagenais, who analyzed both Krewson’s and Stewart’s blood.

Krewson’s showed low to mild concentrations of alcohol at the time the sample was taken, as well as traces of cannabis, Dagenais said. No THC (the psychoactive component of marijuana) was detected, which suggests the marijuana was consumed two to four hours prior to the sample being taken, she told the six-man, six-woman jury. A non-psychoactive component of cannabis was detected in higher levels, suggesting Krewson was a frequent, possibly daily, user. His blood also showed traces of ketamine, which was given to him by paramedics.

When asked what Krewson’s level of intoxication might have been at roughly 6:20 p.m. that night — several hours before the sample was taken — Dagenais estimated he would have been low to moderate. She said the effects of marijuana use around that time would have had a cumulative effect on his level of impairment.

At a low to moderate level of intoxication, Krewson may have experienced reduced inhibitions, increased confidence, impaired judgement and possibly an effect on his motor skills.

Under cross examination, defence lawyer Donna Turko asked how much a person of Krewson’s weight would have to drink to have reached a heavy level of intoxication by 6:20 p.m. — when the shooting is alleged to have taken place.

Making her calculations from the witness stand, Dagenais estimated he would have to consume roughly 13 beers in the four to five hours leading up to the incident.

Stewart’s blood showed a very low level of alcohol suggesting she was not under the influence at the time of her death, Dagenais said. The presence of THC was detected, but Dagenais was unable to determine the concentration. The drug lorazepam (usually used to treat anxiety) was also detected, but found to be below the concentration at which it would have a therapeutic effect. Dagenais added she did not know where on Stewart’s body the sample was taken from, and that the source could affect how strong the concentrations are.

The trial resumes Monday.


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