Middle-of-the-night home invasion led to shooting on Saint John street

·3 min read

A botched, middle-of-the-night home invasion led to the shooting death of a 42-year-old West Side man a year ago, said Crown prosecutor Joanne Park in her opening remarks to a jury Wednesday.

Justin David Breau, 36, is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Mark Shatford.

Parks said Shatford was in the bedroom of his apartment at 321 Duke Street West on Nov. 17, 2019.

Shatford's partner was with him and noticed shadows outside the bedroom door some time after 4 a.m. She got up to investigate and found two masked men in the apartment, Parks told the jury.

The woman called out to Shatford to warn him, but as the first two men headed for the door, a third man appeared from their bathroom.

Parks said the third man grabbed Shatford and demanded money or "dope." As the two wrestled inside the apartment, the woman managed to pull down the man's mask and recognized Breau, someone she had known for years, said Park.

Roger Cosman/CBC
Roger Cosman/CBC

The intruders left the apartment with Shatford in pursuit with a metal object he had grabbed inside.

Park told the court that Breau headed for a nearby vehicle, reached in, grabbed a shotgun and fired it at Shatford, who tried to ward off the shot with his hand.

She says hundreds of pellets passed through Shatford's hand before hitting him in the abdomen.

He was rushed to the Saint John Regional Hospital and underwent emergency surgery, followed by several other operations to repair more than 100 holes in his bowels. Park said part of Shatford's bowels had to be removed. He also had surgery to repair damage to other parts of the body. Despite all of the medical interventions, Shatford died a month later.

After Park finished her opening remarks, jurors heard from the first of eight police officers scheduled to testify.

Jury of 14

Because of COVID-19 restrictions, the jury selection process was altered slightly in order to limit the number of people gathering together.

After an initial screening of potential jurors helped whittle the list down to a smaller pool, those remaining gathered at the Saint John Trade and Convention Centre on Wednesday morning.

Potential jurors waited in a large room, where chairs were spaced more than two metres apart, each with its own bottle of water.

People were called one at a time to a smaller waiting area, before being admitted into the room with the presiding judge and lawyers for the Crown and defence.

Thirty-nine potential jurors were asked — one at a time — about their ability to serve on the jury before 12 jurors and two alternates were selected. Everyone else was allowed to leave at about 12:30 p.m.

Shortly after 1:30 p.m., all 14 jurors were led into the courtroom for their instructions from Mr. Justice Thomas Christie. He told them that they would all listen to the evidence presented to the court, but that the law only allows 12 of them to deliberate.

At that point in the process, he said two jurors will be selected by a random draw and excused.

Eight days have been set aside for the trial.