Leo Crockwell’s lifelong friend didn’t expect things to go as far as they did
In the decades Lloyd Mullowney has known Leo Crockwell, the two have had many conversations.
“Me and him were friends,” Mullowney said while testifying at Crockwell’s trial Wednesday at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
“We’d talk for hours, go to Tim Hortons. We spent a lot of time together.”
But there’s one time, in particular, Mullowney regrets not chatting with his lifelong friend — Dec. 4, 2010, the day Crockwell barricaded himself in his family’s Bay Bulls house, prompting what turned into an eight-day standoff with police.
“I thought about it after and I probably should’ve went in and talked with him,” Mullowney said.
“If I had my chance back, I would’ve.”
Instead, Mullowney’s attention was on Crockwell’s elderly mother, Margaret, and sister, Cathy. They had come out of their house upset that something serious was going on with Crockwell, as Mullowney and his cousin were working in a nearby garage. Cathy had blood in the corner of her mouth, he said.
The two men took the women to look for police. They called 911 and the police responded.
During the next eight days, RCMP officers used many methods to try to get Crockwell out, including negotiators, tear gas, a robot, a battering ram, noise grenades and water cannons.
On Dec. 11, he escaped through a side window and walked to Goulds, where he stopped at a house to ask for a ride to Petty Harbour Road.
Crockwell was arrested at a house on Petty Harbour Road shortly after the couple who dropped him off called the RNC.
He’s been in jail since then.
Crockwell has pleaded not guilty to eight charges — assault, assault with a weapon, uttering threats, mischief by interfering with the lawful use of property, discharging a firearm, possessing a firearm without a licence, careless use of a firearm and reckless use of a firearm. Charges of attempted murder were dropped.
Lloyd Mullowney’s version of what happened was similar to what his cousin, Wade Mullowney, had told the jury the day before.
After the women were out of the house, he said, Crockwell came out with a gun in his hand.
“I said to him we were only talking and that there was no need for guns,” Lloyd Mullowney said under direct questioning by Crown prosecutor Elizabeth Ivany.
“He turned around and went back in.”
He said he didn’t feel threatened by Crockwell, but thought it best to call the police.
“I didn’t know what was going on in the house,” Mullowney said. “When the gun came into the picture, I thought it was safer to get police involved.”
When asked why he thought it was safer, he replied, “I see the gun and thought it can be solved very easily (by police). I figured it would be over in half an hour.”
Ivany pointed out to Mullowney that, in his statement to police in December 2010, he said Crockwell looked, “psyched out” and that “something was really wrong in his head. He wasn’t thinking straight.”
Mullowney explained he merely meant that Crockwell looked frustrated and stressed out.
An extensive search of the house and grounds after Crockwell’s arrest turned up firearms — two inside the house and two under a ramp of a neighbour’s garage.
That neighbour, Leonard O’Driscoll, also took the stand Wednesday.
“Were you aware there were guns found on your property?” Ivany asked.
“No,” O’Driscoll replied.
“Do you own any guns?”
“Have you ever seen these guns?”
“Do you have any knowledge of how they ended up on your property.”
O’Driscoll said he uses the garage only during the winter and wasn’t using it at the time.
Earlier in the day, correctional officer John Carew testified about statements he said Crockwell made while at the St. John’s Lockup a few days after his arrest.
On Dec. 13, 2010, during a casual conversation with guards, Carew said, he asked Crockwell about what happened at the house.
“He told me they sent a robot in and that he was trying to shoot wires off the robot,” Carew said.
“He said he didn’t want to hurt anybody.”
The day ended with the jury watching a three-hour-long video, shot by the RCMP, of the inside and outside of the Crockwell house in the days after the standoff.
It was defence lawyer Ken Mahoney’s request that jury members see it before he cross-examines RCMP Cpl. Shawn Puddester, who is expected back on the stand today.