A young woman who saw Steven Michael Neville stab two men said one of the victims had it out for Neville for months before the incident.
Vicki French told a jury Wednesday that Ryan Dwyer sent her a text two weeks before the stabbing, expressing his hatred for Neville.
“I hope Neville dies the most painful death he can,” Dwyer’s text from Sept. 17, 2010, read. “I’ll laugh and have a bash at my house.”
After reading the text aloud during Neville’s trial at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s, defence lawyer Rosellen Sullivan turned to French and said, “That’s pretty harsh, don’t you think?”
“That’s what Ryan (Dwyer) was like,” French replied.
Neville is on trial for stabbing Dwyer and Doug Flynn on Oct. 9, 2010, on Carlisle Drive in Paradise.
Dwyer suffered knife wounds to his sides and arms, but recovered. Flynn was killed, having been stabbed in the temple and chest.
Neville faces charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.
Neville’s lawyers are arguing Neville acted in self defence against Flynn and Dwyer, who they say had been terrorizing him for months.
French supported that argument, having witnessed on many occasions Dwyer threatening Neville.
She said Dwyer was jealous of Neville because Neville was making money selling drugs — something Dwyer did, but gave up for fear of getting busted.
She said Dwyer was constantly asking people where Neville was and if anyone had seen him.
“He wanted to beat him up,” French testified. “There wasn’t a day went by when Dwyer wasn’t looking for Steven.”
She said Dwyer would cause problems for anyone who associated with Neville.
Neville, on the other hand, she said, never prevented anyone from being with or being friends with Dwyer.
“Seems Ryan Dwyer had an amazing ability to influence how people acted towards Steven Neville,” Sullivan said in cross-examination.
“I agree,” French replied.
French said just two months before the stabbings, Neville and Dwyer had been friends.
“In August (of 2010), we were all down to the Regatta together,“ she said. “Two months later, look what happened. … Things were escalating.”
French, 21, was with Dwyer and Flynn the night they were stabbed.
The group had gotten two cabs from George Street, where they were at a bar dancing and drinking alcohol. They arrived at a house on Carlisle Drive where a party had taken place earlier in the night.
French said they knocked on the door, but got no answer. Dwyer suggested they, instead, go to his and Flynn’s nearby apartment.
As they were walking up the street, French said, they saw Mike Crant’s car stop, but it then began to drive off. They saw Neville was in the passenger’s seat.
French said at that point, Dwyer shouted, “Neville’s in that car. Come on, Doug, let’s get him,” and the two ran after the car. She said they were shouting for Neville to get out.
French said Neville then “tumbled out” of the slowly moving car.
She said Neville and Dwyer began fist fighting. Flynn then approached Neville and they, too, fought. She didn’t know where Dwyer was at that point, as she was focused on Flynn’s fight with Neville.
“I couldn’t see the punches, but I could tell they were fighting,” she said. “I saw their arms swinging.”
Minutes later, she said Neville, who had a knife, took off running down Carlisle Drive, towards Topsail Road, screaming, “You wanted this. You were after me for months. I’m going away for life.”
She saw Flynn stagger towards the sidewalk before collapsing.
It was then she saw the two men were seriously hurt. She and a handful of other people ran to their side.
“There was a lot of blood,” said French, who immediately called an ambulance.
One of the Crown’s final witnesses, another man who witnessed the stabbings, is expected on the stand today.