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Jurors poised to deliberate on Kelowna murder trial

What was in Trevor Shannon's mind five years ago when he shot and ultimately killed a teenager at a late-night house party?

That's the question 10 jurors are being asked to answer now that all evidence has been submitted in Shannon's second degree murder trial.

If they were swayed by defence lawyer Brent Bagnall's case, they'll acquit the Kelowna man of the charge.

In closing arguments Tuesday morning, Bagnall argued Shannon, 27, lacked criminal intent when he swung his gun toward Evan Wilkes's head in 2007, causing a fatal wound.

After all, he told the jury, if Shannon intended to kill the teenager, why did he behave so strangely in the moments after his gun fired?

"(He) felt shock, disbelief, he became frantic and ran around in the street," Bagnall said.

The handgun went off unexpectedly, Bagnall said, pointing out that firearm experts testified that the mere swinging motion of such a unreliable piece of equipment could have caused it to fire.

And, then there's the bullet. It's never been found, and Bagnall said that's a piece of evidence that needs to be weighed heavily.

Had Shannon, then 22,  been aiming at the teenager, the bullet should have been lodged somewhere in the garage, which was just a few feet away from Wilkes.

Its absence in the evidence chain is due to the fact the gun went off when Shannon was pointing it skyward—not directly into Wilkes's head.

It was a frantic movement, he told jurors, brought on by the fact that Shannon was feeling the pressure of a crowd who were closing in on him—potentially with pepper spray— and he was being provoked into a fight by Wilkes.

"Things happened quickly and (Shannon) did not intend to fire the gun," he said. "The evidence does not demonstrate that Trevor Shannon wanted to shoot Evan Wilkes beyond a reasonable doubt."

Bagnall also warned jurors to be wary of how their opinions about the accused informs their view of the case at hand.

"You may not like Trevor Shannon. That's fine. You may disapprove of his lifestyle, that he sold drugs or chose to carry a gun," he said. "That's fine. But it has no bearing on this case."

That's a departure from what Crown Counsel Duncan Campbell laid out to jurors, however.

Looking for a guilty verdict, Campell described Shannon as a conniving character who was looking to prove himself as a "bigshot", and the Vimy Avenue party provided the right environment to do so.

"Why carry a gun unless you need to use it? It's not meant for hunting," he said. "There's only one purpose to carrying a gun like that, and that is to kill people."

And if it wasn't in his possession for the sake of murder, the only other motivation Campbell offered was just as dubious.

"(Shannon) also had it for respect. So people knew not to mess with (him)," he said.

With that kind of intent in mind, said Campbell, it's unlikely that Shannon felt bullied or overwhelmed by the teenagers that the defence described as a growing mob. And his actions weren't frantic.

"He was being humiliated by the way Evan Wilkes was acting," said Campbell.

According to Cpl. Bill Parmar's testimony, Shannon as much as said so after his arrest.

"(Shannon) told Parmar why he shot (Wilkes) … because 'Wilkes wouldn't stop beaking,'" he said.

According to earlier recollections of that night, Wilkes confronted Shannon outside the party house, and said if he had the "balls to carry a gun" he should have the "balls to use it."

Shannon told him several times to "say it one more time," said Campbell.

But "Evan Wilkes wasn't afraid of the man with a gun."

So, Campbell argued, the gun was used as it was designed.

Shannon swung up his arm, brought it up to Wilkes's head, and then "he pulled the trigger because that's what he intended," Campbell said.

If he was just going to pistol whip the boy, which he's said he was, he came short of that goal. Autopsies, said Campbell, show no evidence of bruising relating to being hit by the barrel of the fire arm.

Shannon, he said, would have had to stop short of Wilkes's head to fire the gun.

Campbell added that there was no angry mob, gathering to beat Shannon—no knives, and no bear spray, headed in his direction, as was previously mentioned.

"I suggest that he was never in danger," said Campbell. "It's nothing more than a smoke screen.. it's an excuse."

The jury will start deliberations tomorrow afternoon.

 

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