Witness says fight outside his house was 'intense'

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Rosie Gillingham
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Testifies in murder trial that he didn't have his glasses on

Defence lawyers Rosellen Sullivan and Peter Ralph read documents as their client Steven Michael Neville looks on from the prisoner's dock, prior to the start of proceedings in Neville's trial at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's Tuesday. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

It was just after 2 a.m. on Oct. 9, 2010, when Anthony Keeping was awakened by a loud noise.

When he jumped out of bed and peered through the blinds of his bedroom window, he was shocked to see what was going on right in front of his house on Carlisle Drive in Paradise.

He saw what he said looked like a chase followed by a fist fight between three men.

"It seemed very intense," the 32-year-old said Tuesday while testifying at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John's.

"I mean, I've seen school-room fights before, but this was much more intense. ... When you're swinging that forcefully, you're swinging with purpose."

After one of the men fell to the ground bleeding, Keeping immediately called 911.

"There was a pool of blood forming around his body," he said.

Keeping didn't find out until the next day that he had actually witnessed what was a double stabbing.

One of the men, Doug Flynn, was killed, having been knifed in the temple. The other victim, Ryan Dwyer, survived, but suffered stab wounds to his back, sides and arms.

The third man, Steven Michael Neville, was behind bars. He's on trial for charges of first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Keeping was the defence's first witness in the trial, which began in October.

He told the jury that when he first looked out his window, he saw a man chasing another man up the street. The man being chased then turned around, the two met and got into a fist fight. Seconds later, Keeping said, a third man ran towards the other two.

"I thought the third (man) was coming in to stop the fight," Keeping said on direct questioning from defence lawyer Peter Ralph. "It seemed he was coming in to help one of the individuals."

But the third man also started swinging his fists, he said.

"They were all close together," Keeping said.

Shortly afterwards, he said, one of the men veered towards the sidewalk and fell, while the other two backed away.

He said one of the men then ran away, yelling, "Are you coming after me?"

Keeping admitted he couldn't identify the men, didn't see a knife and couldn't tell there had been a stabbing.

On cross-examination by Crown prosecutor Robin Fowler, Keeping said it's possible he didn't see details because he wasn't wearing his prescription glasses.

In court, Keeping wore his glasses, which he said he needs to see things at a distance and for night driving.

Fowler then reminded Keeping of what he had told police shortly after the incident - he said the man who ran away and shouted "Are you coming after me?" seemed to have taken satisfaction in what happened.

"He was saying it in a manner as though he was proud of what he had done," Keeping said.

"It was just the tone of his voice. It's hard to explain."

A DNA specialist also testified at the trial Tuesday.

Tom Suzanski - who appeared via videolink from Halifax, where he works in the RCMP laboratory - analyzed test results of DNA taken from the crime scene.

He testified that in examining the knife believed to have been used in the stabbing, he said blood samples taken from three of the four areas of the knife matched that of Flynn's blood.

The fourth area didn't contain enough genetic information to make a conclusion, he said.

He said none of the DNA samples matched Dwyer's blood.

As a result, he couldn't say whether or not the knife was used to stab Dwyer.

"I have no idea," he said. "All I can testify to is there was a blood match (for Flynn)."

He said there were other stains of blood on the knife that weren't examined, but he was not asked to examine those.

"When you're dealing with such large amounts of blood, you have to be selective," he said. "There's no way you can test all the blood. ... You don't examine every piece of evidence from a (crime) scene."

Meanwhile, the jury is down to 11 members - seven men and four women - after one of the men dropped out for reasons that were not made public.

The defence has three witnesses left to call. Testimony continues today.

rgillingham@thetelegram.com Twitter: @TelyCourt

 

Organizations: Newfoundland Supreme Court, RCMP laboratory

Geographic location: Paradise, St. John's, Halifax

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