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Triple murder trial in Sudbury focuses on witness credibility


The credibility of a witness took centre stage in Sudbury on Tuesday at the trial of Liam Stinson, who is charged with three counts of first-degree murder.

Witness Darren McNamara, who was a friend of Stinson, testified that on the night of the murders, April 21, 2021, he was doing crack with Stinson and others at a downtown hotel.

Stinson, 27, is charged with arranging the 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.

McNamara testified he saw two men leave Stinson’s place not long before the fire broke out. When emergency vehicles began arriving, Stinson, McNamara and others left the area, bought some smokes and headed to the Radisson Hotel where they smoked crack.

He testified at the trial that the same two men who left Stinson’s place before the arson later showed up at the Radisson. McNamara said one of the men, who he thought was named Jeremy or Jordan, asked to get paid.

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

But McNamara’s testimony became confused when defence lawyer Joseph Wilkinson pointed out that during police interviews and at the preliminary hearing, he didn’t mention anything about seeing the two men at the Radisson, or that anyone asked for “payment.”

At first, McNamara said that no one asked him about it, then he said he thought he did mention it.

“Pretty sure I mentioned they were in the hotel room,” he said.

But then he admitted he wasn’t sure and was trying to remember.

Wilkinson then suggested he didn’t mention the incident to police or during the preliminary hearing because he was making it up and “never witnessed it.”

“Are you kidding me?” McNamara replied.

“I don’t know why that’s not in (the transcript) ... Why isn’t it?”

In addition to Stinson’s charges, Jared Herrick was 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.

Eyes closing on the witness stand

At one point Tuesday, Wilkinson asked McNamara whether he was falling asleep. But McNamara replied that he was just focusing on trying to remember what happened.

Wilkinson then suggested that McNamara was eager to help police, even asking around the neighbourhood to find suspects.

He came up with a name, Jordan, whom he thought he recognized, and brought it to police. He later said this was the same person he thought was named Jeremy and recognized him as one of the people he saw both at Stinson’s place and at the Radisson asking for payment.

Then why, Wilkinson asked, did he tell police in his April 26, 2021, statement that he didn’t recognize them and didn’t know what they looked like?

“I couldn’t tell them?” a surprised-sounding McNamara responded.

“Are you sure I said that?” before adding that he’s not good with names, just faces.

He said the two men he saw leaving Stinson’s place were wearing masks, but he recognized one of them as the ‘Jeremy’ or ‘Jordan’ he had seen before.

Wilkinson said he doesn’t believe McNamara really saw the two men at the Radisson, or that McNamara heard one of them ask Stinson when they were getting paid.

Superior Court of Justice Dan Cornell then asked McNamara which version he was sticking with – evidence he gave during the preliminary hearing, or during the trial.

“Are you standing by your trial evidence?” Cornell asked.

“I’m standing by my trial” evidence, McNamara replied.

When Wilkinson asked why he failed to mention such an important detail during the preliminary hearing, McNamara said he didn’t remember.

“It came out the way it came out,” he said.

“But I know what I heard.”

Finally, Wilkinson had McNamara admit that Stinson’s mood that day could be attributed to the effects of smoking crack.

Earlier, McNamara said Stinson was acting anxious and stressed at the hotel.

But McNamara admitted Stinson’s mood that day could be chalked up to doing “blasts of crack,” which amount to one “toke” or “toot” on the crack pipe.

The trial resumes Wednesday. Top Stories

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