The murder trial of George Mitchell Allgood is on a long break after his defence lawyer raised the question of possible new evidence.
Morris Bodnar asked for a one-month adjournment last Wednesday, saying he had been approached at an earlier point in the trial-which began Sept. 9-by someone who gave him vague information that he passed on to police.
"Police have further investigated, and it deals with an individual and a fingerprint found on the door (at the shooting scene) and there has been a comparison done. .. and they are unable to include or exclude that as being the person who did it," Bodnar said in court. He said he wants to get another opinion from an outside agency.
Allgood lived in Chilliwack for years and was known to many in the community under the false identity Reno Trevor Hogg. He met the mother of his four-year-old son and the victim in this murder trial, Susan Reinhardt, in Chilliwack while working at Sto:lo Nation. Allgood is on trial for first-degree murder and attempted murder in the shooting of Reinhardt and David Ristow on July 15, 2006. Reinhardt died of gunshot wounds while Ristow was seriously injured.
Allgood's fingerprint was not a match to the partial print found on the patio door that led into the bedroom where Reinhardt and Ristow were sleeping.
Nor did his DNA match DNA found on two shotgun shells at the scene; Bodnar said he would like a DNA analysis done on the unnamed new individual as well.
Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter argued the court should hear more evidence about this potential new information before granting the adjournment. "Before you adjourn a trial like this for such a long period of time, perhaps the court needs to know whether or not this is information with merit. .. or based on a hunch by some character who wanders through the courtroom and speaks to Mr. Bodnar," Ritter said.
Justice Grant Currie granted the adjournment, noting the request "falls under the broad umbrella of trial fairness."
The matter will be spoken to on Oct. 24 in Saskatoon Court of Queen's Bench, at which time a date for trial continuation will be discussed. Bodnar raised the issue of new information after the Crown finished a two day cross-examination of Allgood, who denied shooting Reinhardt and Ristow. A video of Allgood's interview with police just hours after the shooting was played in court Wednesday morning. In it, Allgood-who had previously served time for a killing in the United States and was known under the false identity of Reno Trevor Hogg at the time-reacted with shock when Sgt. Randy Huisman told him Susan Reinhardt was dead.
"Susan? Susan's dead? Get the f---out of here," Allgood said in an interview at the Saskatoon police station on July 15, 2006.
The Crown played the video after Allgood testified on Tuesday that he was with certain individuals at the time of the shooting-providing some names for the first time. On the video, Allgood refused to answer questions about where he was at the time of the shooting and repeatedly asked to have a lawyer present. He asked Huisman if police were investigating David Ristow, Reinhardt's common-law husband.
When Huisman said Ristow had been shot at the same time as Reinhardt, Allgood again appeared surprised. "What? What is going on here?. .. When did that happen?" Allgood asked.
His statements in that interview differ markedly from what he told an undercover police officer three-and-a-half years later at the culmination of an operation that targeted Allgood by drawing him into a fake criminal organization.
On Jan. 3, 2010, Allgood told a fake mob boss that he shot Reinhardt and Ristow; he shared details such as where he acquired a shotgun and shells. However, he testified Tuesday that he was lying in that interview because he feared for his life if he didn't tell the mob boss what he wanted to hear.
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