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Court hears video recording after fatal shooting on Humpback Road

A key Crown witness at Damien Medwedrich’s trial in the death of Alex Knatchbell on Jan 20, 2020 says he made the video in the car driving away from the shooting
Police block the 3100-block Humpback Road in the wake of the killing in January of 2020. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A key Crown witness said Tuesday that he made a cellphone video as he was driven away from a shooting on Humpback Road four years ago by a man now accused of first-degree murder.

The witness, whose identity is protected by a publication ban, was testifying at Damien Medwedrich’s trial in the death of Alex Knatchbell on Jan 20, 2020.

Court has heard that Knatchbell, 26, was a known drug dealer. The Crown believes ­Medwedrich lured Knatchbell to the narrow, rural Langford road that night and shot him 12 times.

First responders found Knatchbell in his Nissan ­Pathfinder, which had crashed into a tree and was blocking the road.

The witness testified that Medwedrich came by his mother’s house and picked him up, then took his phone and arranged to buy drugs from Knatchbell. They drove to Humpback Road and parked on the side of the road. Medwedrich got out of the car.

“And I heard shots,” he testified.

Crown prosecutor Clare Jennings asked the witness how he was feeling at that time. “I was pretty scared,” he replied.

Medwedrich got back in the car and began driving away from the scene pretty aggressively, the witness said, adding Medwedrich was also talking on the phone.

Jennings asked the witness why he made the video. “I was just trying to help the police,” he replied.

In the video, played for the court, Medwedrich appears to be pinning the crime on the witness.

“But that’s why I took him out to Sooke. If [police] pinged his phone, he was in Sooke, and now I’m taking him home. I’m dropping him off,” Medwedrich tells someone.

“Yeah I didn’t get any money out of him, nothing, but this is done. I’m done … It was set up,” he says, telling the person the car crashed into a tree.

Medwedrich says he couldn’t find any dope or Knatchbell’s phone. “I was like [expletives], a [expletive] car is going to come so I [expletive] ran back to my car and we took off and I hid the thing out in Sooke,” he says on the recording.

Medwedrich told the witness he would kill him if he told anybody, the witness testified.

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Sarah Runyon suggested the witness used to drive Knatchbell to his drug deals in Colwood and Langford in exchange for drugs. She also suggested that the witness was known as one of Knatchbell’s “workers.” Runyon also suggested that the witness’s father had to pay off his drug debts from time to time.

The witness said he could not remember how much cocaine he was using in January 2020. He testified that he didn’t know that drug dealers carry weapons to prevent against being robbed by users or other dealers.

Knatchbell always had the drugs ready, he said, testifying that he never saw Knatchbell with drugs or cash.

The last time he took cocaine was four weeks ago, the witness testified.

On Jan. 21, the witness gave a statement to West Shore RCMP Cpl. Haydn Barrow telling him that Knatchbell was his friend and had been his drug dealer for three years.

Cross-examination continues today.

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