Second week of testimony in trial of accused murderer Steven Neville wraps up
Defence lawyers Rosellen Sullivan and Peter Ralph chat as their client, Steven Michael Neville, sits quietly in the prisoner’s dock Friday prior to the start of proceedings in Neville’s trial. Neville is accused of first-degree murder and attempted murder. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram
One of the Crown’s key witnesses in Steven Neville’s murder trial is scheduled to take the stand Monday.
Ryan Dwyer — who survived a stabbing two years ago in Paradise — was originally supposed to testify in the trial Friday in Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s.
However, after a brief discussion with defence counsel, Crown prosecutors Robin Fowler and Jason House told the judge it would be better to wait until next week.
Since Dwyer’s testimony will likely continue for two or three days, they opted not to interrupt it with a weekend break.
Justice Carl Thompson agreed and the jury was dismissed.
Neville is on trial for allegedly stabbing Dwyer and Doug Flynn on Oct. 9, 2010.
Dwyer suffered stab wounds to his sides and arms, but recovered.
Flynn was killed, having been stabbed in the temple and chest.
The incident was said to have been sparked by an ongoing feud between the men over $65 that Neville owed to Dwyer’s younger brother.
Neville faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
The second week of testimony wrapped up with Martha Bennett’s third day on the stand.
Bennett was Neville’s best friend at the time of the stabbing and insisted that she didn’t think Neville meant it when he said in a text message that he wanted the men dead.
Defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan continued to question Bennett about a telephone conversation she claims she had with Neville hours before the stabbing.
Bennett told police Neville had said, “Oh, I want to kill them, kill them.”
It turned out to be a key piece of evidence in police laying the charge of first-degree murder. However, Sullivan pointed out that there is no record of that phone call and suggested Bennett wasn’t being honest in her testimony.
Bennett — who was emotional while testifying the first two days on the stand — seemed more composed Friday and denied lying about the call.
“I know I was talking to him,” she said. “I wasn’t lying.”
Sullivan had pointed out Bennett waited until Oct 27 — three weeks after the incident — to tell police about Neville’s comment.
Sullivan suggested Bennett was lying about the call because she wanted to protect herself from a possible charge of obstruction of justice and to hide the fact she was helping Neville deal drugs.
But Bennett again insisted she was telling the truth.
“As I said, I didn’t lie,” Bennett said.
The trial is expected to last another four weeks.