The man accused of murdering a teen at a bus stop began using drugs in his early to mid-teens and saw his life deteriorate when he was hit on the head by a pipe or other object in 2004, his father testified Monday.
Byron Barry was one of four witnesses called as the defence began its case in Cory Daniel Barry’s second-degree murder trial, now in its third week.
“From there, he just escalated downward,” said Byron Barry, 77, of the blow to the head. “He became skittish — he’d talk to the [television] newscast.”
The Crown contends that 41-year-old Barry, who has pleaded not guilty, stabbed 15-year-old Victoria High School student Justin Wendland twice in the chest on June 3, 2010, as Wendland waited for a bus outside the Times Colonist building. The Crown said he then fled to the Victoria Police Department building, and along the way got rid of a butter knife, a larger black-handled knife, a Bible and a lanyard in a storage compound near the Times Colonist on Westbourne Place.
Defence lawyer Jeff Johnston said in his opening statement that Barry’s mental fitness, drug issues and head injury must all be considered in the trial.
“The central issue, at least from the defence perspective ... is the state of mind of Mr. Barry on the evening of June third of 2010.”
Byron Barry said his son has used all manner of drugs, from marijuana to “everything else down the bloody line.” He said he tried rehabilitation services for Cory through the years, but nothing lasted.
He said Cory began living on the streets, but he would be in touch with his son every few weeks or at least monthly. Once, after the head injury, Byron said, he took Cory in for a few months, setting up a space in a workshop.
“He was plugging the nail holes with toilet paper because [he said] everyone was watching him.”
Gail Bones, a Mustard Seed Food Bank volunteer, told the court she got to know Cory through her time at the social agency. She said that the day before the stabbing, he was “extremely agitated” and angry.
“I’d never seen him in such a state,” Bones said.
She said that she and another worker were quite concerned.
At one point, she said, Cory didn’t even know who she was. She said she wondered if she should call mental-health officials about the situation, but decided instead to alert staff and suggest that Cory be watched.
The trial continues.
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