Trial hears Markham man was lured to his death with cellphone ruse
|Toronto Star 17 Sep 2019 at 19:50|
A young woman hatched a plan with a drug world accomplice to lure a man to his execution on a quiet Markham street, a jury was told Tuesday at the opening of a murder trial.
Laurie Phan, 24, and Jeff Atienza, 30, have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the Feb. 10, 2017 shooting death of Noel Williams, 27.
Williams was shot three times just outside his family’s home on Hillwood St. in Markham.
Crown attorney Kevin Stewart told jurors Tuesday the victim and accused were all involved in the drug trade, buying and selling pot and crystal methamphetamine.
The Crown’s theory is that the plan to to kill Williams was not spontaneous. “About a month before the murder, Noel Williams was involved in robbing Mr. Atienza. A week before the murder, Laurie Phan took Noel Williams’ phone, with Jeff Atienza in on the plan. The trap was set,” Stewart told the jury.
On the day of the murder, Phan went to Williams’ home using the ruse that she wanted to give him his phone back. But when she got there, she did not bring the phone with her, Stewart said.
But Phan reassured him — and his sister Marshell Williams — that “Jeff” would be bringing the phone. When a BMW arrived after 1 a.m., Phan walked with Williams to the vehicle where he was shot three times, Stewart said.
No firearm was recovered, but fired cartridge casings came from two different guns. There may well have been two shooters in the BMW — Atienza and someone else. But Stewart told the jury their job is only to determine whether the Crown has proven the guilt of Atienza and Phan.
Marshell Williams, 28, was the Crown’s first witness.
She said Phan — whom she had met previously — arrived at the family home empty handed but offered continued reassurances the phone was coming.
At one point, Marshell told her brother to “take the L,” explaining that meant take the loss, “and I would get him a new phone.”
Phan, she testified, told her “no, no, the phone is coming.”
After 1 a.m., Williams said she looked out the window and saw her brother and Phan walking toward a BMW parked nearby. Next she heard gunshots. — “no less than three” — which coincided with flashing yellow lights, she testified, dabbing her eyes with a tissue.