Pubdate: Wed, 23 Jun 2004
Source: Brampton Guardian (CN ON)
Copyright: 2004 Brampton Guardian
Author: Pam Douglas


Crown says accused confessed to his mother

The jury is expected to begin deliberations this afternoon in the
second-degree murder trial of Adam Palmer, accused of stabbing and
slashing his best friend 20 times near a baseball diamond in
Earnscliffe Park.

Justice Nancy Mossip began her charge to the jury yesterday afternoon
and was expected to finish this morning.

The jury heard from Palmer, 20, who took the stand in his own defence
Monday. He denied killing Michael McGinty, 18, and denied he confessed
to his mother, Hopie Palmer, who testified earlier in the trial.

Palmer told the jury McGinty drove him to the park late at night in
the summer of 2002 to buy marijuana, smoke and "just chill". He said
he gave two men $30 for three marijuana cigarettes, but as he walked
away he looked at the "joints" and saw they were small. He called the
drug dealers back and complained.

"They said it's good weed," but that they did not have any more, nor
were they willing to give Palmer back his money, he testified.

"I was getting pretty frustrated, so I looked over at Mike and he gave
me a little nod," Palmer testified. He tried to reach into one of the
men's pockets to get his money back and a struggle started, he told
the jury. As he wrestled with the man, punches were exchanged, the man
pulled out a knife and started "swinging it at me in a slicing motion.

"I said, 'Mike, this guy has a knife' and I took off. The guy was
chasing me, he was saying 'You're dead, you're dead'," Palmer testified.

He said he hid in some bushes across the parking lot after the man
gave up the chase, and he returned later to find McGinty on the
ground, not moving. He said he lifted his shirt and saw blood.

"I started crying and stuff," he testified. He told the court many
emotions were going around in his head, including anger. He ran around
trying to find the two men, then went to a friend's house nearby and
stayed there until 6 a.m. when he started calling his parents asking
for a ride home.

Assistant Crown Attorney Tyler Shuster asked Palmer why he did not
call police, even anonymously, to try to get help for his friend or to
hunt for the two men. Palmer said he didn't want to be charged with
robbery or for buying marijuana.

"He did what he did, it wasn't the best thing," Royal told the jury of
Palmer's decision not to call for help for his friend. "That fact
doesn't make him a liar. It doesn't mean he killed Michael McGinty."

Palmer's mother told police in a sworn videotaped statement a few days
after the murder that her son had confessed to her he had killed
McGinty. The motive, according to the crown, was Palmer's mistaken
belief that McGinty was trying to poison him.

The jury heard closing arguments yesterday. Defence lawyer Ted Royal
told jurors not to believe Hopie Palmer's statements to police because
she had lied earlier when she told police her son had said three men
in the park robbed the two friends the night of the murder.

Her "unreliable" statements are the Crown's only evidence against his
client, Royal said. "The Crown has put all of their eggs in the Hopie
Palmer basket," he said.

He said the other evidence actually helps prove Adam Palmer's
innocence. He said there were footprints belonging to someone other
than Palmer or McGinty found around the baseball diamond, suggesting
his client's testimony about two other men was true. He said the
amount of blood McGinty would have lost should have covered his killer
in blood, yet the clothing voluntarily turned over to police by Adam
Palmer had only a few spots of McGinty's blood, all of it mixed with
Palmer's own blood. Palmer had suffered a cut to his right index finger.

Shuster said Hopie Palmer's testimony during the trial should be
discounted because she was clearly struggling with testifying while
facing her son in court. It was Hopie Palmer who turned in her son
after struggling with the "moral" dilemma for several days, he said.

"Blood is thicker than water," he noted. "The strongest bond is the
bond between a mother and a son... This trial is about a son's
confession of murder to his mother and the moral choices she had to

When she turned her son in, she told police he told her he had taken
McGinty's shirt and wiped the blood from his body to get rid of DNA,
Shuster said. He held up a picture from the crime scene for the jury
to see.

"Look closely, you'll see that the blood has been wiped from his
body," he said. 
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