Edmonton man accused of stomping brother to death tells court it was self-defence

Court supplied photo of Vern Leonard Smith, who is on trial on a charge of second-degree murder for the Nov. 14, 2010, killing of his brother Walter Smith.



EDMONTON - An Edmonton man accused of stomping his brother to death told police he acted in self defence after the victim attacked him with a knife, a jury heard Friday.

Vern Smith, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder for the Nov. 14, 2010, killing of Walter Smith, 37, and a videotape of his police interview was played in court.

In it, the accused tells a homicide detective he slapped away the knife and then kicked and stomped his brother three or four times because he kept on coming at him.

"I was defending myself. He came at me with a knife. I wasn't trying to kill the fricking guy," said Smith, adding he stopped when Walter "stopped getting up."

Smith also told the detective he "might have" struck his brother with a soccer-style kick and said the last kick was the one that "killed him" as the victim's head hit a wooden computer desk before striking the floor.

"I had to subdue him . . . so he wouldn't kill me," said Smith. "I never meant to hurt him that bad."
The accused also told the detective he later carried his brother to his mom's car so he could be taken to hospital.

"The trouble was over. I had to help my brother," he said. "I'm not a bad person."

The jury also heard evidence from assistant chief medical examiner Dr. Bernard Bannach, who testified the victim suffered a skull fracture and a fractured lower jaw and died as a result of cranial trauma from blunt force injury.

Court earlier heard that Smith had taken his brother to the man's bedroom in their south Edmonton home after Walter had attacked their cousin with an end table.

In an opening statement to the jury, Crown prosecutor Rob Beck said all three men had been drinking and Walter had become belligerent and aggressive.

Beck said Vern took Walter upstairs to settle him down and had to disarm him when he pulled out a knife. He said Walter ended up on the ground and Vern stomped on his head with sock-clad feet until he stopped moving.

The brothers' mom has testified and agreed with defence lawyer Naeem Rauf that Walter was "bad from day one."

The senior also agreed that Walter had been convicted of first-degree murder for luring and killing a homeless man in a Satanic ritual sacrifice and had spent six years in prison before his conviction was quashed on appeal.

She also agreed that Walter used to boast about beating the homeless man to death with a baseball bat and would tell people that he had "got away with murder."

As well, she agreed with Rauf that Walter had been jailed for stabbing a friend in the leg and had once thrown his older brother out of a window, breaking his leg.

She also agreed Walter used to set fires as a child, he would put frogs in the microwave oven to see them pop and he got into trouble for assaulting another student.

The trial is slated to continue Tuesday.

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