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Defence tries to poke holes in witness testimony at triple murder trial in Sudbury

Three people died in the April 11, 2021, arson: Jasmine Marie-Claire Somers, left, Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose and Guy Armand Henri. (File) Three people died in the April 11, 2021, arson: Jasmine Marie-Claire Somers, left, Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose and Guy Armand Henri. (File)

The trial of a Sudbury man charged with three counts of first-degree murder resumed Tuesday with the defence taking aim at the testimony of a prosecution witness.

Liam Stinson, 27, is charged with arranging the April 11, 2021, firebombing of a townhouse on Bruce Avenue where Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose, his estranged girlfriend, was staying.

Rose, Jasmine Marie-Clair Somers and Guy (Popcorn) Armand Henri were killed in the fire. David Cheff, who lived there, survived by jumping out a window.

Darren McNamara, a friend of Stinson and a retired mechanic, testified last week that Stinson and Rose had a toxic relationship.

Testifying on Tuesday morning, McNamara said he sometimes bought crack from Stinson, who occasionally gave him “freebies.” He was with Stinson the night of the arson, arriving around 3 a.m.

He said two guys came up from the basement while he was there, a tall man he thought was named ‘Jeremy’ and a shorter person he didn’t know. They left without speaking to Stinson.

When McNamara and the others heard emergency sirens a short time later, they left Stinson’s residence, bought some cigarettes and headed to the Radisson Hotel downtown.

“The sirens were going,” McNamara testified. “We all took off because of the sirens and the police.”

He said the two people who came up from the basement at Stinson’s place later arrived at the Radisson looking for payment.

In addition to Stinson’s charges, Jared Herrick has been sentenced to 16 years in jail and Philippe Jeannotte 17 years after pleading guilty to three counts of manslaughter and one count of arson causing bodily harm.

Co-accused Riley Roy, then 27, pleaded guilty to attempting to obstruct police and received a one-year conditional sentence.

A fourth co-accused, Fernard Bolduc, 49, had his charges stayed in the Ontario Court of Justice on Sept. 15, 2022.

On Tuesday, defence lawyer Joseph Wilkinson asked whether McNamara heard anyone talk about going after the townhouse where Rose was staying.

“No,” he replied.

Anyone mention a fire or gas?

“No,” he said.

But after the fire broke out, McNamara said he asked Stinson, “Where’s your girl?”

“I don’t give a f—k,” Stinson replied, according to McNamara.

When Wilkinson said that wasn’t accurate, McNamara replied, “Oh, I’m accurate.”

Wilkinson also challenged whether McNamara really asked Stinson about Rose.

At the preliminary hearing, McNamara denied asking Stinson about Rose’s whereabouts. But now, Wilkinson said he’s changing his story.

“What I said there wasn’t accurate,” McNamara replied.

He said he wasn’t trying to deceive anyone, but he was nervous.

Sudbury fire crews at housing complex on Bruce Avenue formerly known as Ryan Heights following a deadly blaze. April 11, 2021. (Alana Everson/CTV Northern Ontario)

“I was nervous that all this happened to Jamie,” McNamara said.

“It’s a lot to take in, especially when she was a good kid and everything.”

While he said he made a mistake during the preliminary hearing because he was nervous, McNamara admitted he was still nervous about testifying.

“But what you’re saying now is accurate despite being nervous?” Wilkinson asked.

“Yeah,” McNamara said.

Not long before the fire, McNamara said Rose was at his place and a jealous Stinson arrived to take her back.

McNamara said she was there because she feared Stinson, but Wilkinson suggested it was because he gave her drugs. Instead of being jealous, Wilkinson suggested that Stinson was angry that McNamara was giving her drugs.

He denied that.

“(Stinson) came to my house and pushed me … and was going to beat on me, but a couple of people who were with him stopped him,” McNamara said.

Stinson believed “I was trying to pick her up,” McNamara said.

“(But) it wasn’t about drugs. She had drugs.”

Wilkinson asked McNamara about testimony from last week, when he told Crown that the two guys that came up from the basement at Stinson’s place were at the Radisson after the fire.

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He said the one he thought was named Jeremy asked about getting his drugs and Stinson replied, “Don’t worry, I’ll pay you.”

McNamara admitted he didn’t know their names and they were masked, but recognized one of them.

“I always knew (the tall guy) as Jeremy,” he said, before adding, “Even to this day I don’t know their names.”

The trial resumes Tuesday afternoon. Top Stories

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