Among the key considerations for the jury in a trial for a man who allegedly shot his roommate is why his mother washed their clothes minutes after the incident.
After a days-long case from Crown counsel John Swanson, the defence’s case in Matthew Cameron’s aggravated assault trial spanned just a couple of hours on Friday, with testimony from and cross-examination of Cameron’s mother, Katherine, followed by Matthew, himself.
It was one particular detail in Katherine’s testimony that Crown lawyer John Swanson took with significant scepticism. According to Katherine, after the “horrible bang” went off and her son desperately called for her to get out of the house, she never knew until several minutes after arriving home that her son was the shooter.
In her testimony, after allegedly being shoved aside by Miller, Katherine said she saw Miller struggling in the hallway near the front door.
“He’s moving back and forth across the hallway, and I stuck my hand on his shoulder and kind of like patting him, going ‘Kyle, Kyle, calm down,’” she said, adding that Miller stepped back heavily onto her foot, causing her to take a few steps back, herself. “As I did that, boom, a horrible bang. And I was like, ‘What the hell was that?’”
Evidence shown to the court showed blood and tissue all over the hallway, which caused Swanson to express incredulity that Katherine hadn’t known that anybody had been shot.
“The big bang happens, and your evidence is that immediately after that, you didn’t see any blood at all? Not a scintilla?” Swanson asked.
That particular piece of testimony — and whether or not the jury believes her — is key to another question Swanson pressed the Camerons on. That question is why Katherine washed their clothes after the two fled to her home.
“You picked up Matthew’s clothes, and you immediately washed them so that you could destroy any evidence that was on them, and the police would not be able to search them, correct?” Swanson asked, which Katherine denied.
Katherine claimed she didn’t see the gun in either of the men’s hands because she was standing behind Miller during the incident. When the gun went off, she claimed to have believed that her son was shot or shot at.
“I’m going, ‘how do I get out?’ I was so scared, I was, I was actually terrified,” she said. “I ran to the car, and I had a keyless entry, and I couldn’t even get in my car, I was shaking so much.”
After the pair returned home, Katherine and Matthew admit that Matthew showered while Katherine washed their clothes. Katherine told the court that Miller had spat on her and that she had put on the clothes she had laid out to wear to work the next day when she left her house earlier that evening to pick up her son.
It was for that reason, she said, that she decided to wash her clothes, and upon seeing Matthew’s clothes on the floor, while he got into the shower, she put that in the wash along with hers.
It was while changing that Katherine claimed she realized she had taken a bit of the buckshot from the shotgun.
The Camerons also told the court that they were unable to call the police immediately because Matthew’s father was on the phone with Shaw and had been on hold for some time.
While the pair claim they attempted to get on the phone as soon as possible to report the incident, Katherine claimed she didn’t see it as urgent because she didn’t realize that Miller had been shot.
Swanson grilled Katherine on how she could have been unaware that Matthew was the one who shot the gun until several minutes after the two arrived at her home, having spent some minutes in the car together, along with around five minutes at home before Matthew got into the shower.
“I don’t remember if I asked him (what happened). I was absolutely frightened; I was in shock,” Katherine said. “I didn’t know what was going on. I’ve never had such a traumatic night. No, I don’t remember if I did or not.”
Swanson pressed Katherine on why she hadn’t called the police, herself, while Matthew was in the shower, to which she responded that she hadn’t because she was doing laundry and her husband had been on the phone.
“Do you tell your husband, ‘get off the phone, I need to phone the police?’” Swanson asked, appearing more irritated as the line of questioning progressed.
“I was telling him that, but at that time, like I said, I had no idea that anybody had been shot, I didn’t see that there had been an absolute urgency at that moment,” Katherine responded.
The trial will finish on Tuesday, with closing remarks from the Crown and defence lawyers.
The jury will, then, need to decide whether Matthew shot Miller with malice or in self-defence.