Pair on trial for conspiring to escape custody

Rosie
Rosie Gillingham
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When the nurse on duty on 4 North B at the Waterford Hospital March 26 noticed Kenneth Edward Green was in bed with his sneakers on, she sensed something was wrong.

Defence lawyer Randy Piercey (left) speaks to his client Kenneth Edward Green (right), as Green’s co-accused Matthew Francis O’Quinn looks on, prior to the start of their trial at provincial court in St. John’s Monday. — Photo by Rosie Gillingham/The Telegram

“Kenny’s foot was sticking out of the blankets,” Nikola Geehan said Monday while on the stand at provincial court in

St. John’s. “I phoned the supervisor and said we were having some concerns.”

Minutes later, a search of the room which Green and Matthew Francis O’Quinn were sleeping in uncovered several things — including several hospital sheets tied together and a shoe lace, with a slip knot in it.

Police say they were among the items the men had planned to use to slip out of the hospital through a window.

Green and O’Quinn are on trial for conspiring to escape from lawful custody.

The men were patients at the hospital at the time.

Green, 35, was there undergoing a psychiatric evaluation after being arrested for the beating death of Joey Whalen on Tessier Place in the capital city March 13. He faces a second-degree murder charge.

O’Quinn, 37, was there to be evaluated as a possible dangerous offender after being arrested for break and enters and an assault on a woman on the west coast of the province.

Testifying in the opening day of the trial, Geehan told the court both Green and O’Quinn were on constant observation the night the items were discovered.

She was responsible for watching Green at the time. Another nurse was watching O’Quinn.

The two men had their beds placed in the TV room, since staff felt uncomfortable watching them in their individual rooms, she said.

The nurses were watching the men through a window in the next room.

After she saw Green’s sneaker, Geehan said she and another half dozen nurses walked the men to seclusion so they could search the room. Police were called.

O’Quinn also had his sneakers on, she said.

Geehan will be back on the stand today.

But according to police, other items were also found that night at the hospital.

Earlier Monday, RNC Const. Ron Simms testified he was called in to the hospital to take photos of the blankets and laces, as well as a Bic lighter, a pair of nail clippers and a screw. He also photographed a metal door stop and a metal door grate, both of which police say had been removed from washrooms near Green and O’Quinn’s room.

Simms said there were four hospital sheets tied together, stretching 26 feet. Another two were tied together, about eight-to-10 feet in total length.

The trial almost didn’t get started Monday.

When proceedings began, defence lawyer Tim O’Brien told Judge Lois Skanes that there had been a breakdown in his relationship with O’Quinn.

It marked the second time O’Quinn had issues with his lawyer. The trial was originally supposed to start in September, but was postponed when, a week before, O’Quinn dismissed his first lawyer Derek Hogan.

On Monday, Green’s lawyer Randy Piercey stressed his desire to start the trial, since Green’s bail was being held up due to the case.

After several breaks to figure out what the next step would be, O’Quinn opted to represent himself in the trial.

Piercey initially intended to act on an application he filed to have Green’s case severed from O’Quinn’s.

However, it wasn’t necessary since O’Quinn agreed to go ahead with the trial.

It’s expected to last four days.

Organizations: Bic

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