The inquest into the death of a man who was hospitalized after being taken into police custody began today in Fort St. John.
Inquest Council Mitch Houg began today’s proceedings with an introduction to the case. Houg said that in the days leading up to the death, McPherson and a friend, Todd Gobout, had both been working in a camp out side Fort St. John. The two quit their jobs and came into Fort St. John to stay in a hotel, intending to eventually make it back to Terrace, where the two had formerly lived.
Houg also stated that McPherson had been a user of a mixture often referred to as “speedballs.” The drug is normally a mixture of cocaine and heroin; however, a mixture of cocaine and methamphetamines is often sold under the same name. Houg said it’s believed that McPherson and Gobout had come into conflict with a group of individuals dealing the drug. That conflict was the reason for McPherson’s encounter with the first witness in the inquest, Cst. Erin Davis.
Cst. Davis described an early-morning encounter with McPherson on August 25th, three days before his death in hospital.
Davis testified that she was nearing the end of an overnight shift when she went to investigate a complaint from a man that he was being followed. She found a man sitting on the curb, talking on his cell phone, but the man insisted that he wasn’t the person who phoned in the complaint. Davis said she then continued her patrols.
Davis said that approximately five minutes later, she was contacted by another officer who was dealing with a case that he felt was linked with the one she was dealing with. Davis went to where the fellow officer was at the Caravan motel. That officer had been responding to a complaint that involved a broken window at one of the hotel rooms. It was at this location that Davis said she encountered the same man that she had seen talking on his cellphone earlier. The man gave his name as Larry McPherson. It was at this time that Davis also met Todd Gobout, McPherson’s friend and former co-worker, who was staying with him in the hotel room.
McPherson told the officers that he and Gobout had recently returned from a night at a local pub and were watching TV when at least two males barged into the room. Davis said McPherson told her he then fled and placed the call to police that he was being followed. He also said the reason he didn’t admit to having made the call earlier was because he feared that he was being watched.
Davis’ testimony was followed by accounts from two people who saw McPherson in the hours before his arrest.