CALGARY - A Calgary man accused of torturing and starving his former roommate engaged in a regular pattern of physical and mental abuse and once smashed the alleged victim's head through a wall, a witness testified Thursday.
Dustin Paxton, 31, is on trial for aggravated assault, forcible confinement and sexual assault. The Crown alleges Paxton brutalized his former roommate over a period of years before dropping him off at a Regina hospital in April 2010 — battered, bruised and severely malnourished.
The roommate, who just turned 28, can't be named because of a court-ordered publication ban. Paxton has pleaded not guilty to the charges.
"It was an everyday occurrence it like seemed to me. Each day it seemed like he had a new wound or he had done something wrong," said Lloyd Youngblut, 29, who worked with both men. "Maybe he wouldn't get physically assaulted, but he'd get verbally abused. I'd never see him. It was like he was always in his room with injuries or because he was told to stay there."
Paxton and the individual were actually partners in the Calgary company, but Youngblut said it was obvious who was the boss.
He said at one point Paxton became enraged when a job hadn't gone as well as he would have liked and he rushed the roommate.
"He grabbed him by his shirt and dragged him up the stairs. When he landed in the kitchen he was face down. He picked him up like he was going to shake him and punched him a couple of times in the face. I watched the blood spit out of his mouth," said Youngblut as Paxton watched him intently from the prisoners box.
Another assault happened after a client had cancelled a scheduled job and Paxton punched the victim in the face.
"When he fell, he kicked him and called him stupid. He hit him in the face and put his head into the wall. It had a big hole in it," Youngblut said.
"If he didn't make his coffee, he would cut him down and tell him he was useless. Just to make him feel less than nothing."
Youngblut said he saw Paxton order the man to his room about three times a week.
"He'd cut him down and hit him until he got into his room."
Youngblut said he tried to talk to the alleged victim about what was going on and told him he could move in with him, but was rebuffed.
"I assumed it was because he was afraid of Mr. Paxton. He just took it," said Youngblut.
"I don't think he ever fought back."
The alleged victim's former girlfriend, Lindsay Airhart, has already testified about how the man had gone from a slightly overweight, but healthy individual to a shadow of his former self lying in a Regina hospital bed.
His body was frail and lifeless. He looked like he had been starved and he had He had burn marks and infected cuts all over his body, Airhart said.
Crown prosecutor Joe Mercier said he weighed less than 90 pounds when he was admitted to hospital, down from his regular 220.
Mercier plans to call 50 witnesses in the five week trial.