'Suicide pact' presented in Cowan murder trial
The defence team for a Leamington man, accused in the death of his best friend, alleged there was a suicide pact.
Andrew Cowan, 45, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in connection with a crash that killed 53-year-old Edward Witt in 2012.
Police say Cowan was driving Witt’s pickup truck at a high rate of speed when he drove up a flower embankment and went airborne, slamming into the second floor of a building. Witt was in the passenger seat and was killed.
In an opening statement to jurors Monday, defence lawyer Pat Ducharme said Cowan and Witt made a suicide pact.
“They were very depressed and discussed ending their lives," Ducharme told the jury.
That is a much different picture painted by the Crown in the last two weeks, who allege Cowan intended to kill his best friend.
The defence began its case with an audio tape of a police interview with Joanne Laing, a colleague and confidant of Witt who has since passed away. Laing said Witt and Cowan were very close and that they were always together.
Laing also told police that Witt was depressed because a girl he had a crush on was using him. That woman, Kim Willson, also testified Monday.
Willson claimed a month before the crash, Witt professed his feelings for her. Then a week before the crash, Witt asked her to move in with her.
"He told me he needed a reason to wake up in the morning. I told him I wasn't that reason. That was the last time I saw him," said Willson.
Another witness, Wanda Lawhead, also worked with Witt. She testified Witt was always a happy, go lucky kind of guy.
But in the weeks leading up to the crash, Lawhead said noticed a major change in his appearance. He had lost weight, he was unshaven and one day, he came into work drunk.
Final arguments in the trial could be heard as early as Tuesday.