Oscar Arfmann listens to closing arguments on Aug. 1 during his trial for the first-degree murder of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson. (Sketch by Felicity Don)

Witnesses in trial for alleged killer of Abbotsford police officer didn’t embellish testimony, Crown says

Crown and defence to deliver closing statements at trial of Oscar Arfmann

Closing arguments began Thursday in the trial of the accused killer of Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson, with Crown counsel arguing that testimony from witnesses, forensics, and surveillance video all firmly connects Oscar Arfmann to Davidson’s death.

Davidson, 53, was killed Nov, 6, 2017, at a business complex on Mt. Lehman Road when he was the first to arrive on the scene of a shots-fired call.

Arfmann was arrested in a stolen black Mustang not far from the scene after a police pursuit that involved ramming the vehicle and shooting at Arfmann.

Crown counsel Wendy Stephen said there is no doubt that Arfmann was the same man who witnesses saw at the business complex prior to the shooting, and who then shot and killed Davidson and fled from the scene.

“This real issue in this case is can Crown prove that the same man, in the same Mustang, with the same gun is the one who shot Const. Davidson, and we say we can do that,” Stephen said in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.

She said Crown had presented “a host of honest, credible and reliable” witnesses through the course of the judge-only trial.

Arfmann’s first-degree murder trial began in May, and witnesses included two employees from the nearby Fraser Valley Automall who testified that they noticed a stolen Mustang of theirs in the Mt. Lehman business complex prior to the shooting.

When they blocked in the stolen vehicle, Arfmann approached them and fired two shots, they testified. Their call to police resulted in Davidson arriving on the scene.

Stephen detailed the different witness accounts, stating that all who testified gave similar descriptions of seeing an older man wearing a black leather jacket, a checkered shirt and a baseball cap, and driving a black Mustang.

Some provided the car’s licence plate or noticed that the plate was from Alberta, Stephen said.

RELATED: Defence won’t call evidence on behalf of accused killer of Abbotsford police officer

Other witnesses, including one who followed the Mustang as it left the business complex and then returned, said they saw the man holding a rifle.

But only one person indicated that he saw a shot being fired at Davidson. That witness, an employee at one of the nearby businesses, said he heard a shot, looked out the window and saw a police officer on the ground and a man in a black leather jacket holding a rifle.

The man was standing about three or four feet away from the officer, pointed the gun down towards him and fired a shot, the witness testified. The witness then took pictures of a black Mustang as it left the complex.

On dashcam video from another witness, who had been in the nearby Starbucks at the time of the shooting, two loud shots can be heard and a black Mustang can be seen driving away. But the footage did not capture the shooting itself.

Surveillance video from Starbucks shows Davidson’s white police truck pulling up near the black Mustang, and Mustang driving away, but the view of the truck blocks the shooting.

Stephen said that when Arfmann was arrested about eight or nine minutes after the initial 911 call, the items found in the black Mustang he was driving included three knives, a loaded rifle, ammunition, and a passport and other ID in his name.

Stephen said forensic testing later showed that blood found on the rifle matched Arfmann’s DNA.

The Crown concluded their arguments Thursday afternoon, and lawyer Martin Peters began defence arguments by saying the Crown’s case had “very significant problems,” including the “reliability and credibility” of the witnesses.

“The case is not as strong as it looks,” he said.

Peters said the case is circumstantial and lacks direct evidence that ties together the gun, car and suspect. He said the Crown has failed to prove that Arfmann was even on the scene when Davidson was killed.

Arfmann was originally supposed to testify on July 24, but changed his mind, and no other defence witnesses were called.

Peters continues his arguments on Friday, after which Justice Carol Ross could render her verdictor or reserve judgment for a later date.

If Ross finds Arfmann guilty, there will be no sentencing hearing, as a first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.

RELATED: Const. John Davidson was ‘ambushed’ by shooter, Crown says on first day of trial

RELATED: Dash-cam video in trial of accused cop killer shows man with a gun


@VikkiHopes
vhopes@abbynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

 

Abbotsford Police Const. John Davidson was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 6, 2017.

Just Posted

NDP bring Green New Deal to the Kootenays

MPs Wayne Stetski and Peter Julian held climate change talks in Nelson, Cranbrook and Revelstoke

PLACE NAMES: Greenwood neighbourhoods

At least eight early townsite additions expanded the city’s footprint

Elk River reclaims property as its own

Laws make it harder to protect private land than ever before says farmer, local government

Smoke-free summer a boon for West Kootenay tourism

Tourism centres seeing numbers up

Saving lives on grocery list for Castlegar responders on Wednesday

Crews attended local supermarkets three times during the day

B.C. sockeye returns drop as official calls 2019 ‘extremely challenging’

Federal government says officials are seeing the same thing off Alaska and Washington state

Expanded support to help B.C. youth from care attend university still falling short

Inadequate support, limited awareness and eligibility restrictions some of the existing challenges

Ethnic media aim to help maintain boost in voting by new Canadians

Statistics Canada says new Canadians made up about one-fifth of the voting population in 2016

Cross-examination begins for B.C. dad accused of killing young daughters

Andrew Berry is charged in the deaths of six-year-old Chloe and four-year-old Aubrey in 2017

Dog attacked by river otters, Penticton owner says

Marie Fletcher says her dog was pulled underwater by four river otters in the Penticton Channel

Scene it? Castlegar New’s weekly photo contest

Take a guess in our weekly guess-the-location photo contest.

BC SPCA overwhelmed with cats, kittens needing homes

Large number of cruelty investigations, plus normal ‘kitten season’ to blame

B.C. Hydro applies for rare cut in electricity rates next year

Province wrote off $1.1 billion debt to help reverse rate increase

Most Read