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Necan testifies in own defense at second-degree murder trial

Nicholas Necan breaks down on the stand during testimony at his trial for charges of second-degree murder.
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Nicholas Necan
Nicholas Necan leaves the Thunder Bay Courthouse on Tuesday.

THUNDER BAY - Nicholas Necan broke down into tears on the witness stand when he recalled being informed by a member of the Thunder Bay Police Service that he had been charged with second-degree murder.

“I was shocked,” he said. “It was like a nightmare. I couldn’t believe it. I couldn’t wake up.”

Necan testified in his own defense during day six of his trial to answer to charges of second-degree murder in connection with the 2016 death of 60-year-old, George James Gerard.

Gerard was found unresponsive in a Casablanca apartment on north Simpson Street on the afternoon of Jan. 28. He was pronounced dead at the hospital a short time later.

In a Thunder Bay courtroom on Monday, counsel for the crown, Gordon Fillmore, wrapped up his case against Necan after questioning of his last witness, Det. Const. Ian West of the Thunder Bay Police Service.

West was the officer who read Necan his rights and announced the charges to him when he was brought into the Balmoral Street police headquarters after being arrested in Gerard’s apartment.

According to West, when Necan first arrived and was being processed, he was uncooperative and interrupting him.

Later that evening, West said he noticed a marked change in his demeanour, with Necan being cooperative and attentive and apologizing to him for being belligerent.

When asked if he was aware of the charge he was facing, West testified Necan replied: “murder or some shit. I don’t know why they are laid on me.”

West added that Necan later said he was an easy target because he was drunk.

During Necan’s testimony, his attorney, Neil McCartney, asked him to recount the day of the Jan. 28, and how much alcohol he consumed. Necan said he purchased several cans of beer, a 26-ounce bottle of whiskey that day, and stole a mickey, which he was consuming throughout the day.

When he returned to the Casablanca apartment building, McCartney asked how he was feeling in terms of alcohol consumption.

“I was feeling it,” Necan said.

Necan said he has a memory of returning to the Casablanca apartment after leaving that morning. When he returned, Necan went to another apartment with several other individuals who were also consuming alcohol. According to Necan, he has no memory of leaving that apartment or anything that happened after, only waking up in the Balmoral Street Police station.

During cross-examination by Fillmore, he asked Necan if he couldn’t remember anything from that day after leaving that apartment unit or being processed by police at the station, why did he apologize to West for being belligerent that evening.

“It’s just the way I am,” Necan said. “I have no idea.”

“Would it be because you remember some part of the booking room?” Fillmore pressed.

“No,” Necan replied.

Necan said he only visits the Casablanca apartment building once a month to see his daughter and never had any contact with Gerard before the night of Jan. 28.

During testimony early Monday by Necan’s daughter, she said that night Necan introduced her to Gerard as ‘George.’

“How would you have known to tell her this was George?” Fillmore asked.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Necan replied.

Fillmore concluded his cross-examination by asking Necan if he was angry about anything that day and if he recalled hitting Gerard with a piece of wood, adding that the evidence suggested he was struck several times in the head.

Necan said he could not remember hitting Gerard with a piece of wood or being angry.

“If you don’t remember, you can’t say what you intended to do because you can’t remember,” Fillmore said.

“No,” Necan replied.

Necan’s ex-partner, Melanie Bell, is expected to be called to testify Monday afternoon and will be the second and last witness for the defense.