A bullet hole was found in the wall of a garage used by backyard mechanic Jimmy Wise, a murder trial heard on its final day of evidence.
James Henry “Jimmy” Wise is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of Ray Collison, 58, a Chesterville handyman who was shot at least three times, including once in the back of the head.
A spent .22 calibre bullet was recovered from the front of Collison’s skull after his skeletal remains were discovered in April 2014. He was last seen alive in August 2009.
OPP Det. Const. Michael Hyndman testified Monday that he first noticed the bullet hole in the garage in May 2015 while on a visit to Wise’s former home on County Road 3, near Chesterville.
Court has heard that Wise had, for more than a decade, operated an unlicensed auto repair shop out of a garage on the property, where he also rented an apartment. Wise, now 77, sold his tools and moved to Winchester in late 2010.
Hyndman had been to the garage previously, but this time, he said, the garage’s large barn doors were closed, revealing a hole that went “straight through” the wall.
“As I got closer,” he testified, “I could see that it was mushroomed out. I had seen multiple bullet holes in my career and that was consistent with a bullet hole.”
The hole was chest-high, he said, and was the only one in the garage that pierced the structure.
Hyndman told court that he checked the back of the barn door for a spent bullet, but found none; he concluded the door was likely closed when the gun was fired.
Forensic scientist Shane Staniek testified Monday that he was asked to examine the garage and determine the possible trajectory of any bullet that passed through it.
Staniek, an expert with the firearms and ammunition unit of the Centre of Forensic Sciences, said he concluded that the hole first identified by Hyndman had been caused by a gunshot. “It had all the appearances to me of a bullet hole,” he said.
From his examination of the hole — its metal edges were bent outward — Staniek told court that the gunshot originated inside the garage and that its trajectory was almost parallel to the ground.
“It was basically straight into and through the wall,” he said.
Measurements taken of the hole, he said, also narrowed down the calibre of the bullet that caused it and eliminated the possibility that it came from a .38 Special or a 9 mm handgun. In response to a question posed by Crown attorney Michael Purcell, Staniek said a .22 calibre bullet could have caused the perforation.
On cross-examination by defence lawyer Jon Doody, Staniek conceded that the hole could have been caused by a .22, a .25 or a .27-calibre bullet. He was also unable to say when the bullet went through the wall.
Forensic engineer Eugenio Liscio told court Monday that he used a laser scanner and software to recreate the potential trajectory of the bullet. That work, he said, suggests the bullet travelled about 43.3 metres after it passed through the garage, and landed near County Road 3.
After Liscio completed his evidence, Purcell announced that the Crown had concluded its case against Wise.
Wise’s lawyer, Ian Carter, told court the defence will not be calling any additional evidence.
Crown and defence attorneys are expected to make their closing arguments Tuesday, after which Superior Court Justice Kevin Phillips will issue his instructions to the jury. The case is expected to be in the hands of the five-man, seven-woman jury by Wednesday or Thursday.
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