March 25, 2013 - 3:40 PM
By Shannon Quesnel
A Penticton woman was shocked when her friend's blood spurted onto her clothes.
This was Samantha Clark's reaction immediately following the stabbing of 40-year-old Clayton Bonthoux on July 27. Clark, Bonthoux and several others were at a gathering at 296 Power St., Penticton where the attack took place. She, Bonthoux and several other witnesses testified in Penticton Provincial Court today.
Joshua Rex Mason, 31, faces an aggravated assault charge in connection to the event. He has been in custody since his arrest last summer.
Crown lawyer Vern Frolick called Clark as his first witness in what is expected to be a four-day trial. Most of what Clark said revolved around what happened inside the house and at the front yard fence at 296 Power St.
Clark said she first met the accused two weeks prior to July 27 at an apartment above the Gables liquor store on Martin Street. She saw Mason again at Bonthoux's home on Power Street. Clark arrived around 4 p.m. and almost everyone was drinking. Mason and a female friend arrived but were asked to leave.
Clark said Bonthoux and Mason had an argument about Mason allegedly forging Bonthoux's signature on an intent-to-rent form. Clark said Bonthoux was worried about losing government assistance.
Mason and Bonthoux got physical and Clark told the woman she had to leave. When the woman refused Clark began to drag her out, once by her hair and then by her arm. The woman was taken off the property and Clark returned to the house where she heard shouting and swearing. Clark told Mason to leave but he swore at her.
“It was a lot of adrenaline and a lot of drunk talk,” Clark said.
Several men physically removed Mason from the scene. She told Frolick she did not see Mason with a knife.
Two RCMP officers riding bicycles came by. Bonthoux spoke to them about what happened. After the officers left, Clark said things were calmer at the house.
About 15 minutes later, a large man named Pat came to the home's front gate. Clark said he looked angry. Clayton approached him across the fence from each other and Mason stepped around from behind the larger man, Clark said.
“All of a sudden Josh was in front of Clay,” Clark said. She did not see Mason approach the home. Mason stepped to the fence and “punched” Bonthoux in the chest. Clark could not see a knife or other weapon from where she stood on the property. Bonthoux turned to face Clark.
“He was holding his side and I can see blood. He lets go where he is holding (his chest) and blood spurts on my arm,” Clark said, who became upset in court. “He covered me (with blood). I was covered.”
Bonthoux told Clark he was fine. She grabbed a loose shirt and pressed it to the wound, then took off after Mason and caught up to him on Maple Street. She remembers yelling at him.
“You just killed somebody's father,” she said. She said the accused told her to shut up and she didn't see anything.
Frolick asked Clark if she thought Bonthoux was going to die. She said yes. She said there was a lot of blood. She and Mason then parted. Mason was later arrested at a home on Maple Street. Police found a knife on Swift Street.
Around this time emergency services arrived at the home and Bonthoux was taken to hospital where he underwent surgery. He has since recovered.
Welsh questioned Clark and brought up one of her statements to police. She had said she did not see Mason do anything to Bonthoux. She told police she saw blood on Bonthoux.
Later in court, witness Twyla Berikoff, who was at the house on July 27, said she heard screaming coming from the front gate from the home's deck. She said she saw Mason hit Bonthoux.
“Then Clay turned around (and) there was blood everywhere.”
The trial is expected to resume this week.
To contact a reporter for this story, email Shannon Quesnel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 250-488-3065.
News from © InfoTel News Ltd, 2013