Was Chad Alphonse defending himself from a potentially deadly attack or was he angry and aiming to kill two years ago when he stabbed his friend?
That’s the question a Kelowna jury comprised of eight women and four men will be grappling with today as they go into deliberations.
Alphonse is charged with the second degree murder of Waylon Jackson.
He was one among a group of four guests at Jackson’s house March 11, 2016 preparing for a babyshower for Jackson’s newborn daughter.
Little in the way of preparation was done that night other that drinking and smoking pot, so in the early evening Jackson went upstairs with his common-law wife, Naomi Foureyes, to attend to their newborn daughter and the party came to an end.
Downstairs Alphonse and his girlfriend—who is also Naomi’s sister—got into an argument about how they were getting home.
The options were to call one of their grandparents or take the bus and the conversation got heated.
That’s when the situation took a fatal turn.
Defence lawyer Terry LaLiberté told jurors in closing submissions that Jackson went down the stairs “mad as a hatter” that Alphonse and his girlfriend were causing a disturbance.
“He wants them out of there,” said LaLiberté.
That anger led to a fight, he told jurors, and Jackson had Alphonse down and was pummelling him in a corner when Naomi Foureyes went down the stairs to see what was happening.
From the entry to the kitchen, she watched as Jackson then started hitting Alphonse over the head with a steel chair.
That’s when Foureyes yelled out for the fighting to stop.
“‘Waylon stop it, you’re going to kill him,’” is what she said, LaLiberté reminded jurors, referring to testimony rendered in the trial.
“What does that put in a person’s mind?”
A mind, he added, that was addled by a night of heavy boozing. Jackson dropped the chair and started to walk away.
Foureyes testified that he was looking at her as though he was going to say something.
LaLiberté told jurors that it was more likely that he was going toward his large machete shaped knife that was on the kitchen counter. He had shown it to “the boys” earlier in the night.
Alphonse told police that he hadn’t seen the knife since the previous Christmas, but LaLiberte said that the knife had a presence and it’s unlikely that he didn’t know it was there or the threat it posed.
That’s when he got up and fatally stabbed Jackson.
While LaLiberte presented the act as a reflex of survival, Crown counsel David Grabavac said Alphonse made a decision to cause bodily harm that he knew had the potential to kill.
“He stabbed Jackson because he was angry—he was angry because he lost the fight, and he was stabbing in retaliation,” said Grabavac.
He said that Jackson had his back turned to Alphonse, and pointed out that Foureyes had called her partner away from the confrontation.
As Jackson walked away, toward his wife and baby and with his back toward Alphonse, he was stabbed three times. Once creating an S-shape wound on his back, the next time under the armpit and the third time, through his lung and through the left ventricle of his heart.
That third strike with the knife was fatal and Jackson fell to the ground as fast as he likely turned around to face his assailant.
“Alphonse’s actions were deliberate and purposeful,” Grabavac said.