Courts

Jury in Cromwell murder trial hears from police officers

Jurors told of struggle with stabbing suspect, shown knife blade

Police found Aidan David Cromwell in a dark closet about two hours after Marc Bernard Tremblay was fatally stabbed on Feb. 2, 2012, jurors heard earlier this week.

A number of police officers testified Monday and Tuesday as Cromwell’s trial continues in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. Cromwell, 24, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder of Tremblay, 25, who was stabbed in the chest.

During a round of questioning from Crown attorney Rick Woodburn, Cpl. Joseph Allison told the jury he was called to the crime scene at Ashdale Avenue and Titus Street in Halifax to take witness statements. Information from a source led him to an apartment building on 103 Evans Ave., where Cromwell’s girlfriend lived with her family.

Allison said he arrived at the apartment at about 1:50 a.m. on Feb. 3, 2012. After “loudly” knocking at the door for a couple of minutes, he was let inside with three other officers.

He said another officer, Const. Derek Fish, found Cromwell in a door-less closet in a dimly lit bedroom. He said it was a “struggle” to get Cromwell out of the closet, causing Fish and Allison to use force.

Allison told the court he felt his life was at risk because he could not see Cromwell’s hands in the dark.

“My adrenaline was pumping. I didn’t want to get hurt or stabbed. I wanted the situation to be over as quickly as it could,” Allison told the jury.

In cross-examination, defence attorney David Bright said it was expected for Cromwell to resist because the officers were yelling and used force with him.

Police dog, knife blade and photos

The jury also heard from Const. Peter Gallant, a police dog handler trained to use dogs for gathering evidence and tracking suspects.

In questioning by Crown attorney Carla Ball, Gallant said he used a police dog named Taz to track the assailant’s movement after Tremblay was stabbed. The dog followed a “human odour” starting at the back of 14 Titus St. It continued to 16 Titus St. and the corner of Main Avenue. The track crossed Main Avenue and continued up until 81 Main Ave., a block away from the apartment where Cromwell was found.

On Tuesday, the jury was shown the knife blade that was left in Tremblay’s chest and photos of the area where the stabbing happened.

Families heartbroken

Tremblay’s mother-in-law left the courtroom when the knife was shown. When she returned a few minutes later, she was crying. She sat next to Tremblay’s mother, Rose Marie, and rubbed her shoulder in consolation.

Last Friday, Tremblay and Cromwell’s families cried as the video-recorded interrogation of Cromwell was shown in court.

Cromwell was in the courtroom both days when the evidence was shown.

Outside the courtroom Tuesday, Tremblay’s mother took out photos from her wallet of both her granddaughter and Tremblay as a baby. She said she was heartbroken he didn’t get to see his daughter, who was born after he died.

“His daughter has recently started asking: ‘why is daddy in heaven?’” she said while holding back tears.

The trial continues this week.