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'TJ’s going after Ryan': Bartender testifies in Windsor, Ont. murder trial

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Ryan Taylor is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Thomas “TJ” McIntyre.

He died on Sept. 27, 2020, five days after being involved in a fight with Taylor.

The jury has learned about the moments before the altercation, in the testimony of bartender Ashley Lavin.

 

Surveillance video presented

Assistant Crown Attorney Andrew Telford-Keogh showed 15 minutes of surveillance video from inside and outside the Seminole Street bar where Lavin was working on Sept. 23.

Over the course of approximately 15 minutes, the jury saw Taylor sitting at the bar talking to some other patrons.

Lavin said Taylor asked a patron to listen to a rap song on his phone, when the man approached Taylor, grabbed his shirt collar, lifted him off his barstool and pushed him to the ground.

Lavin said she yelled at the group to stop.

“If it continues you’re all going to be asked to leave,” she testified yelling to the men.

The altercation ended with all patrons going back to their seats.

McIntyre entered a few minutes later and didn’t appear to talk to Taylor.

Taylor told Lavin he wanted to press charges against the man who grabbed him.

Lavin advised if he was really worried he should just leave the bar and go home.

 

Taylor worried about being ‘jumped’

Lavin testified Taylor was worried about being attacked by McIntyre and his group of friends.

She offered to walk Taylor out of the bar if he was concerned.

Once outside, she gave McIntyre a cigarette and told him to start walking home.

“He said he was scared,” Lavin said. “He just wanted to leave.”

Not long after Taylor walked out of the camera angle, McIntyre exited the bar. He too walked in the direction of Taylor.

Lavin testified she then opened the bar door and yelled to a patron in the bar, “TJ’s going after Ryan.”

A group of men were then seen leaving the bar and walking out of the video footage.

 

The start of a fight

Lavin told the jury she could see Taylor and McIntyre “going back and forth” with each other on Seminole Street near George Street.

She told the jury she didn’t see the actual fight between the two men, which the jury has learned occurred further up the street at the Tourangeau Road intersection.

 

Defence notes discrepancies

Under cross-examination, defence lawyer Michael Gordoner had Lavin admit she was friends with McIntyre and is still friends with those at the bar that night.

She told the jury Taylor was a newer patron to the bar.

Lavin also admitted she had conversations about the incident with the other witnesses to the fight inside the bar, but stopped when told so by the Crown attorney’s office a short time after McIntyre’s death.

In reviewing the surveillance video, Lavin agreed that the situation inside the bar would have been tense.

Gordoner noted in her first interview with police she never mentioned that Taylor wanted to press charges against the man who grabbed him and threw him to the ground. Lavin only told police that Taylor wanted to call police because he felt unsafe in general.

Lavin’s evidence will continue Friday. 

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