Murder trial opens in Kelowna for man accused of killing housemate

Murder trial underway

The murder trial of Kelowna man accused of killing his housemate opened Monday.

Lorence Earl Williams, 43, is accused of killing Thomas Chadwick on May 30, 2021. Williams is charged with second-degree murder and, in his opening statement to the eight-woman, six-man jury, prosecutor Trevor Sicotte said the Crown intends to show Chadwick was killed by repeated blows to the head with a piece of wood — the type used for decorating edging work. Bloody pieces of wood used for decorative edging were found at the scene of Chadwick’s death.

At this point, none of the Crown's accusations have been proven in court.

Williams was arrested on May 31, 2021, after the man who rented the house where Williams and Chadwick lived, Cornell Fisher, discovered Chadwick’s beaten and bloodied body outside the home the evening before WiIliams’ arrest. Chadwick suffered extensive injuries to his head and face and was pronounced dead at the scene.

Fisher sublet rooms in the house to both Williams and Chadwick but wanted Williams out because his girlfriend planned to move in, the Crown is alleging.

The relationship between the three men had deteriorated, said Sicotte, and earlier both Williams and Fisher contacted police to express concerns about each other.

Sicotte said Williams was at the house at 3451 Sexmith Drive when Williams' possessions were being packed up because he was being evicted from the house. His possessions were placed in the bed of a pickup truck and covered with a tarp. Before that, Williams left the scene.

According to the Crown prosecutor, Chadwick told Fisher later Williams had come back. Later that evening, Fisher discovered Chadwick’s body in a pool of blood outside the house when he went to lock up his vehicle. Williams was not present at that time.

Sicotte told the jury Fisher said he saw said blood on the tarp after finding Chadwick lying on the ground in a pool of blood. Black-rimmed eyeglasses were also found at the scene splattered with blood and three vehicles parked there had their front windows smashed.

In court Monday, Williams sat stoically in the dock wearing a black polo shirt and a pair of black-rimmed glasses.

The trial is expected to run for at least eight weeks and the Crown is expected to call 24 witnesses, including police officers, paramedics, forensic specialists and a pathologist.

In his opening remarks, Sicotte said there are several surveillance videos connected to the case that will be shown to the jury, including one from a camera directly across from the residence that he said shows the killing. But, he added, it is “not the greatest quality.”

Another video, from a nearby gas station, purportedly shows Williams's movements later that night.

The jury will be shown the blood-splattered glasses and wood found at the scene, as well as Williams' clothes and hear a statement Sicotte said Williams made to investigators admitting "he committed a murder murder."

In instructing the jury at the start of the trial, Judge Alison Beames warned jurors to remember statements made by the Crown during opening statements are not evidence and should not be taken as such. The accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

The opening statement is simply what the Crown says it plans to show as the case proceeds.

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