BRITISH COLUMBIA

Lone survivor denies role in triple shooting near Princeton, B.C.

03/07/2015 06:37 EST | Updated 05/07/2015 05:59 EDT
PENTICTON, B.C. - The star witness at a double-murder trial refused to budge from his story as an intense cross-examination continued Friday in B.C. Supreme Court.

Bradley Martin, 50, is the sole survivor of a triple-shooting in March 2013 in a home near Princeton, B.C. He testified earlier in the trial it was John Ike Koopmans who pulled the trigger.

During the early stage of his cross-examination Thursday, defence counsel Don Skogstad asked Martin about his drug use and criminal past, and cited medical records that apparently show Martin is a paranoid schizophrenic.

The lawyer continued chipping away at Martin's credibility Friday by having him explain earlier testimony about needing to "deke" out a police officer who blocked him from getting into an ambulance for treatment of a bullet wound to his chest.

Martin, who's slim and balding and wore a black suit and tie over a purple shirt, maintained the officer "stopped me and definitely impeded me," and then directed paramedics to elevate Martin's legs above his chest, which made breathing difficult.

The officer "definitely didn't seem to be looking out for my best interests," said Martin, who went on to tell the jury about first-aid training he received in Grade 5.

Skogstad also had Martin admit he was brought against his will to testify at Koopmans' preliminary inquiry last winter in Penticton.

Martin explained he didn't want to drive the "highway to hell" between the Lower Mainland and Penticton, and was also worried about losing his home in Surrey, but was eventually arrested and transported by police to the Okanagan.

"I shouldn't have been treated like a criminal. I shouldn't have been escorted up there in a paddy wagon, made to suffer, eat sandwiches. It was just rude — rude and degrading," he said.

As he closed out his cross-examination, Skogstad asked Martin if he could explain why Koopmans wanted to hurt him.

"That's the whole gist of it. I don't have it. I don't have it," Martin said.

Skogstad then suggested Martin had a hand in the shootings and pinned the blame on Koopmans to "harm" him.

"I'm not out to harm anybody," Martin said. "I'm just out to get justice."

Koopmans, 51, is accused of the first-degree murders of Robert Keith Wharton, 43, and his girlfriend, Rosemary Fox, 32, plus the attempted murder of Martin.

Earlier in the trial, the Crown suggested the shootings were motivated by Koopmans' desire to seek revenge for a break-in at his home for which he believed Wharton was responsible. The defence has suggested someone from the drug world was behind the shootings.

The trial resumes Monday and is expected to last several more weeks.

(Penticton Herald)