FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. – Cody McDonell took the stand today in his manslaughter trial for the 2015 death of Travis Waite.
28-year-old McDonell was wearing a dark grey dress shirt and jeans as he was asked to give testimony in connection with the alleged incident that happened on May 18 of 2015.
McDonell stated that he had only met Travis Waite one or two times prior to the BBQ that they both attended on May 18.
He had been living in the basement of Gordon Leer’s home for around three to four months by May.
McDonell stated that he had used marijuana and cocaine as well as consuming alcohol. He said everybody at the gathering had been drinking.
He then went on to say that Travis Waite arrived approximately one hour after everyone else had arrived.
He said things started getting confrontational after Gordon Leer had been bugging Waite about his girlfriend cheating on him. McDonell says that he stepped in between the two when things appeared to be getting out of hand. He then said he tried to remove himself from the situation.
Then he said that Leer asked Waite to leave the BBQ, as he felt the situation had gotten out of hand. Waite apparently did not resist and went to leave the residence. McDonell says that another person at the BBQ suggested that McDonell go and lock the door behind Waite to make sure that he would not come back into the house.
McDonell says that there was a window in the door and he could see a silhouette and knew that it was Waite. McDonell then opened the door and told Waite to get off his property and that he was no longer welcome at the house.
That is when McDonell says Waite started yelling and swearing at him. McDonell says he turned around to go back inside of the house and Waite attacked him from behind. He said in ‘self defence’, he turned around and punched Waite back but could not recall where exactly he had struck Waite.
He said after that, Waite still continued to yell and scream. McDonell said that he went back in the house and slammed the door and locked it. He then proceeded back to the deck located in the back of the house where everyone else was located. He said he continued to drink.
He then went back to the front door and opened the door to see Waite laying against the garage, parallel to the stairs. He said that he went outside and tried to wake up Waite to no avail. He then called Gordon Leer to come and help him and they both carried Waite up the stairs and laid him onto the couch.
Another person present at the BBQ said that their girlfriend was a nurse and they went and brought her into the house. She advised that they call 911 and get Waite to a hospital.
As court heard yesterday, McDonell made the 911 call stating that Waite had fallen down the stairs and was unconscious and had blood coming from his ears and nose but he was still breathing on his own.
When McDonell once again shared how he had found Waite, the court took a recess as McDonell was visibly emotional.
After McDonell’s lawyer had completed his questioning, the Crown cross examined McDonell.
The Crown asked McDonell why he had not told anybody that he was hit by Waite first. Testimony from Gordon Leer stated that McDonell was visibly upset after the ambulance took Waite away and was allegedly swearing and punching walls. McDonell said that he just didn’t mention that Waite had attacked him first.
The Crown also noted that police did not notice any bruising, bleeding or any form of injury on McDonell.
As the Crown continued to question McDonell on other circumstances from the incident, McDonell became defensive and appeared agitated.
McDonell had stated that the 29-year-old Waite was yelling and screaming before McDonell hit him but testimony from both Gordon Leer and Quinton Cowan stated they didn’t hear any commotion. Leer said that the only thing he had heard was a ‘bang’ and then went to check on what had happened. Cowan stated that he didn’t hear any arguing or shouting before he noticed Waite was being brought upstairs.
The Crown stated that if Waite had been screaming and yelling as loud as McDonell stated, other people that attended the BBQ would have been able to hear it.
The judge has asked for written submission from the Crown and Defence. The Defence expects to have their submissions ready by April 7 while the Crown is expecting to have theirs ready by April 18.
The judge has set a court date for April 26 at 10:00 a.m. to give a more precise timeline on when she will make her decision on the matter.