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Witness testifies accused ‘wanted to get rid of’ Gonzales

Admits to lying under oath Thursday but says testimony Friday is true

3 min read
caption Northern Pulp filed for a judicial review on Thursday.
Lucy Harnish

A jury heard from a Crown witness on Friday who says the stabbing of Nadia Gonzales was premeditated.

Joseph Fowler, 21, continued his testimony in Nova Scotia Supreme Court. He said both Gonzales and the man accused of murdering her, Calvin Joel (CJ) Maynard Sparks, were his friends. He said he worked as Gonzales’ driver and bodyguard, taking her around to different drug deals.

Fowler said Sparks “wanted to get rid of her.”

“He was going to poke her with a knife,” Fowler said.

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Gonzales was found in a hockey bag at 33 Hastings Dr. in Dartmouth on June 16, 2017. She was stabbed 37 times.

John Patterson, 72, was found injured outside the apartment building.

Sparks, 26, and Samanda Rose Ritch, 22, are charged with first-degree murder and attempted murder. They’ve been on trial in a Halifax courtroom for four weeks.

Fowler said he warned Gonzales that Sparks intended to harm her.

“My involvement is how I knew it was going to happen,” said Fowler.

When Fowler was questioned by Crown attorney Rob Kennedy, he said Sparks always carried a knife with an orange handle and a black blade, similar to a knife that was found by police. He said the knife was a “tool” for Sparks that he kept in his pocket for multiple uses.

Kennedy asked Fowler about Sparks’ motive. “It was over money, jealousy,” Fowler replied.

Fowler said he and Sparks thought Gonzales was a police informant, which angered Sparks. They came to this conclusion because she often left her phone in cars and they could read her text messages.

Fowler said that about a week or two after Sparks was arrested, he got rid of his phone because he thought it was “tapped” by police.

Ritch’s lawyer, Peter Planetta, questioned Fowler about his relationship to Ritch.

“I know of her, I don’t know her,” said Fowler. He said that he only saw her once, but never spoke with her or texted her.

At the end of the day, Fowler was questioned about part of his testimony the day before.

On Thursday, Kennedy had Fowler read the statement he gave to police on Sept. 28, 2018. After reading the statement Fowler said he didn’t recall it.

On Friday, Kennedy asked Fowler to read parts of the same statement again. This time, Fowler said he remembered and believed it to be the truth.

Planetta questioned this change.

“Yesterday you didn’t remember anything about your statement,” said Planetta in his cross-examination. “So you were lying when you said that?”

“I didn’t remember the details you were asking me yesterday,” Fowler responded.

Eventually, Fowler admitted to lying under oath but said he was telling the truth now.

Two witnesses lie under oath

Fowler is the second witness in the murder trial to commit perjury in his testimony.

The first witness to admit to lying under oath was Wayne Bruce, known as Batman. On Nov. 21, he said he lied in all four statements he gave to police after Gonzales’ death. He also admitted to lying in court about his drug involvement.

“We’re in a first-degree murder trial. There are no white lies here,” Planetta said in court at the time.

The trial is presided over by Nova Scotia Supreme Court Justice Christa Brothers. The jury consists of eight men and four women.

The trial continues Monday after being extended a week. Sparks’ lawyer, Malcolm Jeffcock, will continue the cross-examination of Fowler.

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About the author

Lucy Harnish

Lucy is a journalism student at the University of King's College. She hails from Mill Cove, Nova Scotia. Her interest in Russian literature led...

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