Crown takes its turn with Learn on stand

Crown counsel cross-examined Cheyenne Learn on Thursday in Cranbrook Supreme Court.

Cheyenne Learn is escorted from Cranbrook Courthouse during a break in proceedings

Crown counsel cross-examined Cheyenne Learn on Thursday in Cranbrook Supreme Court following testimony in his defence of the shooting death of Tammy Ellis in 2007.

Learn testified his version of the events leading up to the shooting on Wednesday, while crown counsel Lianna Swanson got the chance to challenge that evidence in front of Justice Dev Dley.

Learn was convicted of second-degree murder in 2009, but the decision was overturned on appeal in 2013 and he was awarded a new trial.

Learn insisted he can’t recall certain parts of the incident on the night of the shooting on Dec. 17, 2007. Swanson made a number of suggestions in an attempt to pin down the reasoning behind some of his decisions, but Learn said his memory through the night was spotty because of intoxication.

Learn said he couldn’t remember entering the residence of the event, but remembers being inside at one point. He also testified he didn’t recall loading the gun, pointing the gun, pulling the trigger, or leaving.

He testified his next memory was laying on a road with his bicycle on one side and the gun — a sawed-off shotgun — on the other side. He said he didn’t realize he was on a bridge overrunning a creek, and that he couldn’t say why he tossed it away.

Swanson opened her cross-examination by referring to the transcript from the first trial and pointing out inconsistencies in that testimony and the one he delivered on Wednesday.

Right before the shooting, Learn testified Ellis had come outside the house and yelled at him for five minutes, insulting him and making derogatory remarks about his intimacy issues with his ex-girlfriend.

Learn said he had trouble hearing Ellis, and it was like she was speaking in a tunnel. He later testified that his vision was like a grey haze when he was inside the house directly before the shooting. Swanson questioned those specific details, noting he didn’t mention them during his first trial.

The weapon itself — originally a shotgun rifle — was sold many years ago, but Learn happened to reacquire it in it’s sawed-off state with the intention of restoring it.

Though he had other rifles stored at his parents’ home, the shotgun was stored in an old army box in his trailer in four parts that required assembly in order to fire properly.

Learn testified that he had brought it out five days before the shooting with the intent of showing it to his ex-girlfriend, who was dealing cocaine at the time and wanted a firearm for protection.

He also testified that he had never put it together at any point in the time he owned it, or even checked to see if it would fire properly.

In terms of intoxication, Learn testified he had three coolers and was mixing rum from a 375-ml bottle into a two-litre seven per cent bottle of a different kind of cooler at his trailer the night of the incident.

He had testified that he was trying to get clean and had abstained from drugs and alcohol for a few days prior, but said he relapsed on that particular night. Swanson challenged that testimony by saying he was drinking because his ex-girlfriend broke up with him.

His ex-girlfriend, who will be referred to as B.L. as her identity is protected by a publication ban — was over at a friends house where she was staying temporarily with Ellis.

He said he made the decision to leave his trailer and go over to the house because he was concerned about B.L.’s cocaine trafficking and drug use, and wanted to disable her vehicle with the shotgun, using three shot shells — one with birdshot and two slugs, which he doesn’t recall taking from the storage box.

Swanson questioned his level of intoxication based on the co-ordination it takes to ride a bicycle for approximately three kilometres to the residence.

She also challenged his reasoning, noting that if he wanted to disable B.L.’s vehicle, he could’ve slashed the tires, put sugar in the gas tank or smashed a window.

She also challenged the effectiveness of disabling an engine with a shotgun shell containing birdshot without having access inside the vehicle to pop the hood.

Defence counsel had a brief re-examination, establishing that he had previously testified in his appeal that he began feeling the affects of the alcohol he was drinking earlier in the evening.

Crown and defence counsel will make their final submissions on Friday.

 

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