Colby McKee-Lanchick says Noah Vaten was like family to him.
The two grew up together and lived together in Rutland back in July 2018, the month Vaten is accused of fatally stabbing Esa Carriere during Canada Day celebrations in downtown Kelowna.
Two-and-a-half years later, Vaten is on trial for manslaughter, alongside co-accused Nathan Truant. On Monday (March 1), McKee-Lanchick was called to the stand, providing an emotional testimony outlining his friend’s actions that night and the next morning.
The two spent most of Canada Day together, alongside a few other people, drinking and smoking weed in Ben Lee Park in Rutland, McKee-Lanchick testified. That evening, they took the bus downtown to join in on the celebrations.
In City Park, they met up with another group which included Vaten’s co-accused. Truant, McKee-Lanchick said, pulled out some cocaine. McKee-Lanchick said he brought Vaten aside and asked him not to partake, citing previous negative experiences Vaten had with the drug.
The group split-up when they spotted a police officer approaching, Vaten fleeing with Truant and McKee-Lanchick heading in a different direction, saying he didn’t want anything to do with the drug.
McKee-Lanchick headed home and didn’t see Vaten the rest of the night.
Vaten spent the night in police custody after causing a disturbance outside the Rutland Community Policing Office early on July 2. The two wouldn’t see each other until the next morning.
McKee-Lanchick read the news when he woke up. He saw a story about a man who’d been stabbed near the Queensway Transit Exchange late the previous night. McKee-Lanchick testified his then-girlfriend overheard Vaten mention he had stabbed someone that night, so he approached him about it.
“I confronted him, and he admitted to me that he stabbed someone,” McKee-Lanchick said as his voice started to tremble. “(He admitted) he f—cked up, he didn’t mean it, he was scared.”
McKee-Lanchick said after asking Vaten what happened that night, Vaten offered a demonstration and showed him the knife he used.
“He was showing me how he stabbed the guy, and he hit me a little bit too hard, so we both chuckled,” he said, in tears.
The Crown played a video of McKee-Lanchick’s confrontation captured by a security camera in the home’s garage. It shows Vaten re-enacting the alleged stabbing in a similar way he did to his drunk tank cellmate just hours before.
Outside the courthouse during the morning break, Vaten and McKee-Lanchick stood on opposite sides of the staircase. They did not speak to each other.
The trial continues.
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