The fatal shooting of an unwanted house guest who claimed a litter of pit bull puppies was an accident, the gunman told a Calgary jury Monday.
John Tabler testified he was helping his roommate, Martin Wallace Yuen, get Jesse George out of their Memorial Drive SE home when he shot the victim in the neck.
George immediately fell to the ground in the middle of the road and Tabler said he was shocked by what had just happened.
“As soon as I saw Jesse fall, I dropped the gun and I started screaming ‘oh my God, oh my God, oh my God,'” Tabler told defense attorney Andrea Urquhart.
Tabler said minutes earlier, George had entered their residence and an armed Yuen emerged from his basement suite with a gun and demanded that the uninvited guest leave.
“He said ‘I’m not going until I get the puppies,'” Tabler said of George’s reaction.
Tabler is charged with second-degree murder and Yuen manslaughter in connection with the shooting death of George on March 27, 2021.
The defendant told Urquhart that he was intimidated by George, who would not back down even though Yuen had the gun with him.
When George pulled a knife, Yuen told him to fight like a man, Tabler said.
“At that point, Martin handed me the gun.”
Man was chased down the middle of Memorial Drive and shot dead, the jury said
‘Saw a guy fall’: Witnesses describe the murder scene on Memorial Drive
Yuen finally took George out of the front door and closed it, but the deceased kicked it open.
“He yells … ‘come out and fight’.”
When the door was kicked open, Yuen’s two adult pit bulls ran out and lunged at George, Tabler said.
At that point, his roommate chased after the dogs while George retreated to the street before turning and brandishing his knife, he told jurors.
“I’m watching the dogs go after Jesse, Martin going after the dogs,” he said.
“I look at them, I move the gun and the gun goes off.”
He told Urquhart he was halfway down a wheelchair ramp that led to their front door and lifted the gun over the rail so he could aim it at the ground in case he needed to fire a warning shot.
“My finger was on the trigger,” he admitted.
“I just wanted to scare Jesse. I wanted him to get out of the house, I wanted him to leave.”
“And what will make him leave?” Urquhart asked.
“See me with the gun,” Tabler said.
“I just wanted to show there was another gun in the place.”
Tabler said he had no intention of harming George.
“Do you mean to shoot Mr. George?” asked the lawyer.
“No, not at all. I was afraid Martin was going to get hurt and I wasn’t going to shoot him,” Tabler said.
“It was an accident.”
On Twitter: @KMartinCourts