‘I heard shots’: Protected witness testifies in day one of 2020 Langford first-degree murder trial

'I heard shots': Protected witness testifies in day one of 2020 Langford first-degree murder trial

A first-degree murder trial kicked off in Victoria on Monday. On trial is Langford’s Damian Medwedrich, 28, who is charged with the murder of Alex Knatchbell.

Knatchbell was gunned down in his car late at night on Jan. 20, 2020.

In their opening remarks, Crown prosecutors argued that the accused Medwedrich lured the “known drug dealer” Knatchbell to Humpback Road in Langford under the false pretense of a drug deal. Instead, Crown says, Medwedrich gunned the drug dealer down.

Medwedrich is pleading not guilty.

Crown prosecutors laid out the bones of their case in a judge-only trial, using cellphone location and surveillance footage that show Medwedrich’s movements the night of Jan. 20, 2020, when Alex Knatchbell, a drug dealer known as ‘Pete,’ was killed.

Crown lawyers say they also intend to show a video taken by their key witness, whose identity is protected under a publication ban. In it, Medwedrich reportedly admits to what he’s just done.

From a protected witness box, the 26-year-old man in Witness Protection detailed his connection with the victim, who he says he used to drive around, helping to make drug deals in exchange for free cocaine.

The night of the murder, the protected witness says he was with Medwedrich, who was driving his blue Saturn. The witness says Medwedrich asked to use his phone before parking on Humpback Road in Langford before Medwedrich got out.

“I heard shots,” said the witness.

Ten days after Knatchbell was found gunned down, Medwedrich was arrested all the way in Prince George.

A blue Saturn was found crashed into a snowbank. Police later spotted Medwedrich walking with a rifle with a scope on it, covered with a blanket. When asked what was under the blanket, Medwedrich bolted.

That gun, Crown says, is the murder weapon.

The big question that remains is why? What was Medwedrich’s motive?

Crown doesn’t have to prove that but says their evidence will lead the judge towards the only rational inference: that Medwedrich planned and deliberately pulled the trigger, shooting Knatchbell 12 times.

The defence has yet to lay out its case. Medwedrich has been in custody since charges were laid in March 2022.

Kori SidawayKori Sidaway

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