Victim’s father, 97, recalls lead up to son’s death in manslaughter trial
The elderly father of a manslaughter victim remembers seeing his son’s feet lying on the floor in their shared apartment unit the night he died.
“I knew he was hurt,” John Lafond, 97, told a jury in Saskatoon’s Court of Queen’s Bench.
Lafond testified as the Crown’s second witness in the manslaughter and robbery trial of Keith Napope. Napope is charged in the November 2014 stabbing death of 35-year-old Johnathon Keenatch-Lafond.
Crown prosecutor Sandeep Bains, on Monday, described the stabbing as a “robbery gone wrong” and said the victim operated a small-scale drug business inside the apartment unit on the 1400 block of 20th Street West.
The victim’s father testified he was in the bedroom of the apartment unit when he heard a commotion and exited the room in his wheelchair.
“Somebody came to the door,” he told the jury. “They hammered and kicked and finally they busted the door. There was about six of them. One guy had a knife."
He said he tried to fight off the group using a small rod. He fell or was pushed out of his wheelchair during the scuffle.
The jury heard the 911 call placed by the senior Lafond. His son, who was stabbed in the torso and the leg, was rushed to hospital where he died, according to Bains.
A manslaughter and a robbery charge were laid against Napope nine months after the stabbing.
The elder Lafond told court he warned his son about drugs and alcohol and said different people were often coming in and out of the apartment unit.
“(I told him) ‘Son, watch it. I wouldn’t trust them.’”
Bains told the jury on Monday the victim’s nephew, who would let customers into the building to buy drugs or deliver them downstairs, was over that night.
He said a group rushed past the nephew and ran upstairs to the apartment unit after he went downstairs to let them in.
During cross-examination, the senior Lafond couldn’t recall if his grandson (the victim’s nephew) told him he didn’t want police to know he was in the apartment. He also said he thought the intruders left through the second-floor unit’s balcony door.
The jury saw crime scene photos, including pictures of blood stains inside and outside of the apartment unit, in the building’s stairwell and on clothing.
Bains told the jury both Keenatch-Lafond and Napope’s DNA were found on a T-shirt at the crime scene. The victim’s shirt and a number of DNA samples were entered as court exhibits Tuesday.
The trial is scheduled to last two weeks in Saskatoon’s Queen’s Bench Court.