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Telling about deadly shooting 'the right thing to do': Witness
A housemate of a young man killed in Surrey a year-and-a-half ago said he witnessed the deadly shooting and only initially hesitated to tell police what he saw because he was scared.
Douglas Nash was testifying in New Westminster Supreme Court Monday at the second-degree murder trial of Lester Olivia Buezo Oseguera, who is accused in the Aug. 30, 2010 death of 28-year-old José Hector Luna Morales.
Nash, 41, lived in a house near 112 Avenue and 138 Street with Lester (who often went by Tony) and Morales.
Nash said he had returned home from work in the early afternoon that summer day and went out to buy beer. He proceeded to a friend's house, called his friend Tanya and drank a 15-pack of beer. He said he and Tanya then bought more beer and headed back to his house in Surrey, where Tanya got into an argument with Oseguera.
Nash told the 12-member jury that Oseguera took out a gun and shot at Tanya, missing her. Nash said Oseguera, who he described as being sweaty and upset, then turned the gun toward Morales, who had emerged from his bedroom, and shot him.
During cross-examination, Oseguera's defence lawyer, David Tarnow, pointed to five statements Nash made to police following the shooting. It wasn't until the last statement, Tarnow said, that Nash said he actually saw the incident. In earlier statements he said he was in his room drinking beer when he heard a "pop," Tarnow argued.
"I told him I didn't see it at the beginning because I was basically afraid and didn't want to rat out," said Nash. "Now I know it's the right thing to do and I don't care what happens to me."
Though Nash admitted he'd been drinking after work – at least 15 beer, which he said was not unusual for him – Tarnow accused him of also snorting cocaine and making up the entire story about Oseguera shooting Morales.
"You can't remember what happened because you were too drunk and stoned to remember, right?" charged Tarnow.
Nash denied the accusation, saying he hadn't done cocaine for 20 years, but Tarnow persisted, suggesting the gunshot Nash heard was nothing but a drug-induced hallucination.
"I knew what was going on pretty well," Nash answered calmly.
Later in the day, Don Stanyer, the father of Oseguera's one-time girlfriend, took the witness stand.
Stanyer said he first met Oseguera in early 2008 when his daughter Denise began a romantic relationship with him. The 64-year-old dad testified that once his daughter started seeing Oseguera, she began coming home with bruises and they'd see her less often. When she did come to visit, Oseguera would wait in the car, honking when he wanted Denise to come, Stanyer said, describing his own relationship with Oseguera as "very strained."
Denise and Oseguera eventually had a son together in 2009. Stanyer said the following year, his daughter asked him and his wife for money for a plane ticket to Honduras. They obliged.
"She was afraid and she asked for some place to get away," Stanyer told the jury. "I don't know what else to tell you – she just had to get away."
Stanyer said Denise left at the beginning of August 2010 with a female friend, leaving an address and cellphone number where she could be reached.
Shortly after, Stanyer testified, his wife noticed photos of Denise and her son were missing from their spot on the refrigerator. They then realized the contact information for their daughter was also gone, as was their cellphone.
Stanyer said he went outside moments later and saw Oseguera on the front lawn.
"He said he wanted to see his son. He wanted to know where his son was," Stanyer told the court, adding he told the young man to get off his property.
The defense did not cross-examine Stanyer.
Last week an RCMP officer who was first on the scene testified he heard a gunshot from inside the house and two men ran out. One fled, while the other, who he said was Nash, remained and was cooperative, telling police his friend was in the house and had likely been shot.
Morales had only lived in Surrey for a year-and-a-half prior to his death, having moved here on a work visa to be a painter. His mother and sister from El Salvador are attending the trial daily. It is scheduled to continue for a couple more weeks.