Witness admits lying during Halifax murder trial

First-degree murder trial into Nadia Gonzales death continues

Wayne Bruce, a key witness for the Crown, admitted to lying Thursday while testifying at the murder trial of Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks and Samanda Rose Ritch.

Sparks, 26, and Ritch, 22, are accused of stabbing Nadia Gonzales to death on June 16, 2017, and trying to kill John Patterson. They have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and attempted murder.

Gonzales, 35, was found stuffed inside a black hockey bag, with 37 stab wounds. The bag was found in a stairwell of 33 Hastings Dr. in Dartmouth. Patterson, 72, was found injured outside the apartment building.

Bruce, 63, lived in Apt. 16 at the time.

Bruce, known as Batman, spent a second day on the stand Thursday in Nova Scotia Supreme Court.

Under questioning by Ritch’s defence lawyer, Peter Planetta, Bruce admitted to lying in all four of the statements he gave to police since Gonzales’ death.

“There were some white lies in there,” Bruce said to Planetta.

“We’re in a first-degree murder trial. There are no white lies here,” Planetta responded.

Bruce also admitted to lying in court, under oath, on Wednesday and earlier Thursday regarding his drug involvement.

On Wednesday, Bruce told the jury he never dealt drugs, only consumed them. Later that day, he admitted to dealing marijuana around 20 years ago.

On Thursday, while being questioned by Malcolm Jeffcock, Calvin Sparks’ lawyer, Bruce admitted to dealing crack cocaine “on and off” up until the death of Gonzales.

Inconsistencies

Planetta said there were several inconsistencies in Bruce’s police statements.

In his first statement on June 16, 2017, Bruce said he had not seen or heard anything after Sparks and Ritch left his apartment where they had been smoking crack. Bruce has been an addict for over 40 years.

The jury heard Wednesday that Bruce tossed the black hockey bag into the hallway outside his apartment. He also testified that he saw the bag three times.

In his statements to police, he said he saw the bag twice and never touched it. In his Aug. 29, 2017, statement, he said he couldn’t remember how the bag got from his bedroom to the hallway. At that time, Bruce was in custody and charged with first-degree murder.

Planetta suggested Thursday that Bruce was lying at the time and is lying now for saying he was forgetting details about the bag.

Bruce denied this suggestion but confirmed he had lied in his statements to police.

Bruce also admitted Thursday to lying to police about a number of other things, including whether Sparks had a knife in his apartment on June 16, details about his crack addiction, and his contact with Gonzales the night she died.

In a statement to police, Bruce said he didn’t hear or see anything, but Thursday he told the jury he remembers hearing a male voice yell “call 911,” just moments before the building’s superintendent came to his door.

Bruce also admitted in court Thursday that he had deleted all of his text messages to Gonzales before her death, but he doesn’t remember why.

Planetta read a section from Bruce’s Aug. 29 statement to police, where Bruce said the best advice he ever got was, “Batman, always tell the truth because you can’t remember a lie.”

Planetta said Bruce was trying to show police that he was being truthful when he was really lying.

Bruce’s cross-examination will continue Friday.

Karla Renic

Karla Renic

Karla Renic is a multimedia journalist in her fourth year at the University of King's College. She freelances and works as the news editor at the Dal Gazette.

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