Crown argues accused in condo shooting killed victim in dispute over gun

Mohamud Dhiblawe is on trial for the 2020 second-degree murder of Mohamed Makaran. Makaran died of a gunshot wound in a northwest Edmonton condo unit. (Scott Neufeld/CBC - image credit)
Mohamud Dhiblawe is on trial for the 2020 second-degree murder of Mohamed Makaran. Makaran died of a gunshot wound in a northwest Edmonton condo unit. (Scott Neufeld/CBC - image credit)

Closing arguments in a second-degree murder trial Tuesday raised questions about the credibility of a key witness to a 2020 shooting death in a northwest Edmonton condo.

Mohamud Dhiblawe is accused in the Feb. 8, 2020 shooting death of Mohamed Makaran, 32.

Dhiblawe's Court of King's Bench trial on one count of second-degree murder and one count of breaching a weapons prohibition has stopped and started over several months — it began last year, resumed in January, and is expected to wrap up this week.

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Mark Huyser-Wierenga urged Justice James Neilson to convict Dhiblawe, 32, of fatally shooting Makaran, based on the preliminary hearing testimony of a woman who said she was with the two men immediately before and after the shooting.

Huyser-Wierenga said that on the evening of the shooting, four people were in a unit in a condo building on McConachie Boulevard in northeast Edmonton.

Dispute over gun

He said Dhiblawe and Makaran were both couch-surfing in the residence – Makaran had been there for some time, while Dhiblawe came to stay after arriving in Edmonton from Calgary the day before the shooting.

He said two women were also in the unit at the time: the mother of one of the tenants who wasn't present during the shooting and another tenant, Bilan Mohamed.

During the preliminary hearing, Mohamed testified that she'd been in the master bedroom with the two men who were fighting because Dhiblawe had accused Makaran of taking a gun that Dhiblawe believed belonged to him.

In an audio recording of the preliminary hearing played in court Tuesday, Mohamed told court that Makaran was sitting on the bed when he told Dhiblawe he would eventually give the gun back to him.

"Mohamud was very, very upset," she said. "That's when Mohamud pulled out another gun."

She said he started waving the new gun in Makaran's face, and that she was scared and left the room to answer a phone call. She said a short time later she heard a gunshot, returned to the bedroom and saw Makaran had been shot in the head.

"I started screaming at Mohamud, 'What did you do? What did you do?' He said 'I don't know,'" she told court.

Mohamed was called as a witness in the trial, but failed to show up to testify in November 2022, Huyser-Wierenga said Tuesday.

She did turn up and take the stand when the trial resumed in January, but Huyser-Wierenga said that at that point she claimed "sudden onset and total amnesia" about the events of February 2020.

"Clearly, she's lied. It's also clear that she revealed the truth at the preliminary inquiry," he said.

Her preliminary inquiry testimony was admitted as evidence in the trial following an application by the prosecution.

Huyser-Wierenga added that Dhiblawe and Makaran had a history, and that their families knew each other. He argued that Dhiblawe was preparing to leave the condo and had become frustrated with Makaran.

"The crown's theory is that as his last act of anger before he expects his ride to be there – pulls the trigger, and executes his adversary," he said.

Defence says victim may have been aggressor

But defence lawyer Akram Attia urged Neilsen to be skeptical of Mohamed's evidence, noting that credibility comes into question when someone's testimony is vastly different than evidence they'd given earlier.

"When you look at the witnesses in this case, there's some serious problems with the evidence," Attia said.

Attia suggested that Mohamed liked Makaran and had been spending time with him.

"She lied about things that put my client in the worst light and [Makaran] in the best light," he said.

He also said that there had been evidence that the two had been fighting, and suggested Makaran had been the aggressor, even physically attacking his client the night before the shooting.

He argued that it's possible Dhiblawe was trying to get away from Makaran, and that the gun went off during a struggle between the two men.

"We can't get at the truth," Attia said, adding it would be dangerous for his client to be found guilty in Makaran's death.

Closing arguments will continue Thursday, when Huyser-Wierenga will respond to some of Attia's arguments.