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'I got new toys I want to try out,’ Michael Hannaford is alleged to have told Samantha Burke
The text message exchange started around 3:20 in the morning on May 18, 2018, with an incoming text to a cellphone reportedly belonging to Michael Hannaford.
"Hey, it's … Sam on friend's phone, needs to see you again," read the message, which was quickly followed by more texts. "I'm on Crosbie Road, can you drop off another half-ball please?"
Though the messages didn't specify, a half-ball is 1.75 grams of cocaine.
"I just got home and it would be $200," came the reply from a person called Mike on Hannaford's phone.
"This is Sam, I paid you back in full today plus bought two half-balls off you today and gave you a deal on the pills," wrote the other texter.
From there, the conversation went further downhill, with Sam appearing to grow angry over the price and demanding to pay no more than $170. She later demanded Mike pay her $70 that he owed her.
"I'll knock on your door and tell whoever answers you ripped me off $70 and stole our scripts," Sam texted to Mike around 4 a.m.
"Waiting to see you come knocking on camera b'y," Mike replied. "If you're going to come knocking on doors, I got new toys I want to try out."
"You threaten me with a gun and you don't show up here, my word I'd be coming right to your house," Sam replied later.
At one point, Hannaford's phone received messages from a second person, urging him to "Think straight."
"Do it only if u feel worth it. Different if she's actually at ur parents'," the messages stated. "Loves ya brother, don't wanna see u f---ed up."
In the hour or so after that text exchange, Samantha Burke reportedly received a .22 calibre bullet to the side of her body, which pierced her tissue and missed her abdominal cavity before exiting close to her back.
Hannaford was subsequently charged with attempted murder, assault causing bodily harm, uttering threats, pointing a firearm, damaging property, possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose and unauthorized possession of a firearm. He has pleaded not guilty and his trial, which got underway in the spring, resumed at provincial court in St. John's this week.
Though Burke has yet to testify (she is scheduled to take the stand Wednesday morning), information she allegedly provided to police has already been presented to the court through testimony of the RNC officers who interacted with her on May 18 of last year.
Officers said they responded to a report of an altercation at Hannaford's Empire Avenue home that day, and arrived to find Hannaford outside the residence with Burke and another woman. An SUV with a broken window was parked in the driveway, and the second woman testified Hannaford had smashed it with a machete in an attempt to defend himself from Burke.
Police found a sheathed machete inside the home near the front door.
While escorting Hannaford back outside and into the police vehicle, Const. Shane McClafferty said, Burke yelled at Hannaford, “When am I getting my $70 or I’ll tell them what you did to me!” Burke then told McClafferty that Hannaford had shot her earlier that morning, and she lifted her shirt to reveal a bloody bandage on her side, the court heard.
McClafferty testified Burke had told him that she and Hannaford had planned to meet at a store near her house around 5:30 that morning so he could repay her $70 he had borrowed from her. She reportedly came out of her Crosbie Road residence and saw Hannaford sitting alone in a car in the nearby PowerPlex parking lot with what she described as a rifle, then heard several loud pops.
“She said Mr. Hannaford had been sitting in his car and she was approximately five feet away. He said, ‘I’m going to shoot you,’ and she said, ‘Go ahead,’ and then she got shot," another RNC officer testified earlier in the trial. A search of the PowerPlex parking lot turned up nothing.
Police officers said Burke had declined medical attention at first, but later agreed to go to hospital and allowed police to photograph her injuries.
Those photos, which were presented in court, show two circular wounds on Burke’s side, each about 10 mm wide. Medical examiner Dr. Simon Avis said the wounds were consistent with the entrance and exit of a bullet from a small-calibre, low-velocity firearm.
Swabs taken from Hannaford's skin after his arrest turned up a single particle of gunshot residue on the back of his right hand.
Two .22 calibre guns were recovered from the ground in the area around Empire Avenue in the days after the shooting. One was found in a field near Hannaford's home and determined not to have any usable fingerprints, and a male DNA profile that did not match Hannaford's profile. The other, found in the bushes on a residential lawn on nearby Redmond's Road, was shown to the courtroom Tuesday.
RNC Const. Andrea Bishop took the .22 calibre firearm from a long, white cardboard evidence box and held it up in front of her, explaining it had been located in a pink camouflage case, which also included an empty magazine and a trigger lock and key.
Police found a number of legal guns in a safe in Hannaford's basement and determined they had no connection with the shooting, though they did find one .22 calibre bullet.