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Murder trial jury sequestered


A jury is now sequestered deliberating over who killed Richard Boxall.

On trial are Scott Dakins, 22, John Preston, 38, and Shawn Amos, 36, charged with first-degree murder. For the past three months they have sat in individual prisoner's boxes enclosed in glass with their legs shackled for extra security.

They are charged with a brutal, horrific murder of Boxall, 31, who was beaten with a baseball bat and hacked with a meat cleaver, scissors and a barbecue fork before he was shoved into a car trunk and dumped in a snowbank on Ridge Road on the night of Feb. 3, 2007.

Now the jury must decide whether or not all three are guilty.

The Crown contends that all three participated in the murder, but that Shawn Amos was the ring leader. Amos was described as the local drug dealer who lived in an apartment at 101 Owen St. in Barrie.

On the night of the murder, the men were sitting around the kitchen table for an impromptu party. Drugs circulated with ease -- cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy, marijuana and alcohol.

One witness described their state of drug and alcohol intoxication as a "nine" on a scale of one to ten.

The jury must grapple with whether or not it can believe in the crucial evidence of eyewitness, Troy MacLean, an admitted drug addict who told the jury he watched the murder, and even participated.

In a Barrie court, MacLean admitted he worked out a deal with the Crown to testify against the others in exchange for a manslaughter conviction rather than murder.

He was sentenced to seven years in prison and could be out as early as next year after serving two-thirds of his time.

MacLean told the jury it was an irate Amos who wielded the bat, striking Boxall in the head several times because Boxall was being blamed for stealing drugs that he clearly didn't steal.

He testified Amos' friend, Preston, joined in on the attack with a meat cleaver, scissors and a barbecue fork while he and Dakins watched and feared for their own lives. MacLean said at one point he fell to his knees, overwhelmed with what he was watching, when Amos then called him a "pussy," and ordered him to kick Boxall as he lay bleeding and dying. MacLean admitted he kicked the victim in the legs to save himself.

Several times on the witness stand, defence lawyers grilled MacLean, suggesting it was he who beat Boxall and took the manslaughter deal to save himself from a life sentence.

The accusations caused MacLean to become angry on the witness stand, and several times he jabbed a finger toward Amos and Preston and blurted out in anger, "Sean Amos smashed this guy with a baseball bat when all he was doing is trying to get out of the house ... I remember John Preston stabbing him with a knife and scissors ... I remember the blood ... I remember the guy's face getting kicked in ... that's what I have to live with."

But MacLean had little to say about the third accused, Scott Dakins, suggesting he was also afraid. Dakins' lawyer told the jury his client was terrified and was simply in the wrong place a the wrong time.

The jury was sequestered for the night and will begin deliberations again today.

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