WINNIPEG — A 17-year-old suspect arrested following a house party shooting where two teens were killed and a third seriously injured told police he had no active role in the bloodshed, only to be caught on video saying he "lied my way out of it."
The now 20-year-old accused and a 19-year-old co-accused are on trial charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of attempted murder in connection with the Dec. 5, 2009 shootings.
Prosecutors say the shootings were payback after the older accused was ejected from the Winnipeg house party earlier in the evening. Party host Tyler (T.J.) Hawula, 18, and Matthew Reynolds, also 18, were shot dead. A third 17-year-old boy suffered a shotgun wound to his arm.
In a police interrogation video played for court, the then 17-year-old accused claimed Hawula and Reynolds were his friends and expressed shock at learning they were dead.
The teen initially told police he was still at the party when armed invaders stormed into the house and started shooting.
"I was dancing with some girls, I came upstairs and boom, that door f------ flew open," he said. "I hit the f------ ground."
Later, confronted with evidence he and the co-accused and two other teens took a taxi to the party just minutes before the shooting, his story changed.
The teen now claimed it was the younger co-accused who came up with a plan to shoot up the party.
"I backed out of it... I didn't want to go there to shoot nobody," he said.
The teen said he was threatened with harm if he didn't accompany the other three boys back to the house party.
"They told me that they were going to beat the s--- out of me because I had the money for the cab fare," he said.
The teen said he ran ahead of the other men to warn the partygoers of the impending violence but couldn't get a word out before the co-accused started shooting. That claim was at odds with his later assertion he thought the gun was a "fake" and that the others "were just going to scare (Hawula)."
The interrogation nearly over, the teen was left alone for a few minutes in the interview room, the video still rolling.
"There, I lied my way out of it," he said.
"It wasn't supposed to happen like that," he told police a few minutes later. "Nobody was supposed to get hurt... That one was out of my control."
Prosecutors are expected to close their case early next week.