Who is Cheddar and is he the man who shot Arthur Burley?
That’s the question Crown counsel Don Mann tried to get answered Thursday as the trial of Brandon Schell continued in B.C. Supreme Court.
Schell, 29, is charged with extortion, firing a prohibited weapon and aggravated assault. Trevor Taylor, a co-accused in the case, pleaded guilty earlier this week to obstruction of justice.
Schell is the larger of the two men, with close-cropped light-brown hair and broad shoulders.
The shooting occurred in the early hours of Nov. 5, 2011, at the apartment shared by David Laboucane and Richard Brown.
Laboucane testified Brown had let the men into the apartment at about 1:30 a.m.
He was lying propped up on the couch when Burley stood in front of him in a confrontation with one of the two men, who went by “Cheddar” and “Trey.”
He said the man he believed was Cheddar, the smaller of the two, demanded they go through him for any drug deals.
“It was obvious to me they were serious, by the manner they were speaking,” he said.
“They said there could be trouble for us if we didn’t comply with them.”
Laboucane said he had stopped using cocaine a few days before the incident, and he doesn’t drink. But his roommate, Brown, did use drugs.
He said he was mistaken in his statement to police that the larger of the men was standing in front of Burley at the time of the shooting.
He said Burley called one of the men an asshole.
“The guy said don’t call me an asshole. You have to show me some respect,” Laboucane said.
“I couldn’t see who it was. Art’s a big guy, he was right in front of me.”
But apparently the man took out a gun, and he heard Burley say, “Shoot me. Be a man. Shoot me.’”
There was a loud pop, then everyone “dissipated,” he said.
The two men left, soon to be followed by Burley, who hadn’t realized he was shot through the right shoulder. He has fully recovered from the shooting.
Laboucane said the bullet lodged in the wall a few inches above his head.
In court, he insisted Cheddar was the smaller man, and that he had misidentified him in his statement given to police later that day.
Mann tried repeatedly to get Laboucane to clarify for the judge who he meant when he talked about Cheddar, pointing out that Laboucane referred to Cheddar throughout his police statement as if he knew the man.
Complicating the case further is the death of witness Brown, who is suspected to have overdosed on drugs Wednesday. The coroner’s service is looking into the cause of death.
Defence lawyer Sheldon Tate began his cross examination of Laboucane late Thursday and is expected to continue today. The trial is being heard before Justice Dev Dley without a jury.