Immediately after a fistfight with a childhood friend outside a Columbia Street home in July last year, Jesse Seymour stood and staggered, falling straight back.
“He took a deep breath, as if he couldn’t breathe, and fell back,” Nicole Jones Dodginghorse told B.C. Supreme Court on Tuesday in the second-degree murder trial of Seymour’s friend, Torbin Alec.
Immediately before he fell, the 29-year-old Seymour accused Alec of stabbing him, saying, “Did you just f-ing stab me?”
“He said that twice,” she testified.
A pathologist said Monday that emergency room physicians were unable to resuscitate Seymour, who was stabbed six times. Two of those wounds were directly to the heart and either would have been sufficient to cause death.
Jones Dodginghorse was the first person to testify who witnessed the altercation. She arrived at a house party in the 700-block of Columbia Street around 1:30 a.m. on July 15 last year. She was sober and had one cooler while at the home.
The Calgary woman visiting Kamloops said she went outside with Jesse, whom she’d known since childhood, to share a cigarette on the front steps. Alec was outside. The two men were joking and laughing earlier.
But Jones Dodginghorse said tension between the two began to rise when Seymour told Alec “he had no chance of being with (his cousin) Danielle Seymour — that he wouldn’t be able to hook up with her.”
The two exchanged words and Alec began walking toward Jesse, who stood and dropped a mickey bottle of tequila in his right hand on the ground, where it broke.
The two began trading punches.
“At one point, Jesse was on top of Torbin, punching him in the face,” she said, adding the two were exchanging blows.
Jones Dodginghorse said she turned to yell into the house to get help. The fight ended when another partygoer, Shawn Bottle, “grabbed Torbin and threw him off Jesse,” she said.
That’s when Jesse stood, staggered and fell, accusing Alec of stabbing him.
But Bottle gave a differing account when he testified in Tuesday afternoon.
“By the time I got to the door, Jess was on his back and Torbin was hovering over him,” said Bottle, one of only two people to witness at least part of the altercation.
Bottle also testified he saw Alec thrusting one hand at Jesse, who was on the ground.
“It looked like he was stabbing him.”
Prosecutor Rob Bruneau said at the outset of the trial that police arrested Alec at his mother’s house on the North Shore, where they found a bucket of bloody water and bloody knife.
In cross-examination, defence lawyer Jeremy Jensen suggested to Jones Dodginghorse that it “wasn’t a fair fight” — that Jesse was pounding on Torbin.
Jensen also suggested that Jesse may have stood to face Alec with a broken bottle in his hand, asking her twice, “Did you see that broken bottletop in Jesse Seymour’s hand when he stood up?
Jones Dodginghorse was adamant, however, saying, “He stood up and dropped it right beside me.”
She denied she saw Jesse holding a jagged bottleneck.
The courtroom was packed with friends and family of Jesse Seymour, a youth worker and respected TIB member whose father is a band councillor.