When Treyton Middleton found out who was suspected of shooting his stepfather in the street outside their home on Saint John’s lower west side, he looked him up on Facebook.
On Wednesday afternoon, the jury heard that Middleton, now 19, sent a message to the man that night, threatening to round up some friends and kill him.
In fact, when Const. Connor Bodechon arrived at 321 Duke St. West to take photos about an hour after the shooting, Justin Breau’s Facebook profile is on the computer screen photographed in Middleton’s bedroom.
Breau, 37, is on trial for second-degree murder in the death of 42-year-old Mark Shatford. He is accused of shooting Shatford at about 4:25 a.m. on Nov. 17, 2019.
Despite numerous surgeries at the Saint John Regional Hospital, Shatford died on Dec. 18.
During testimony on Wednesday, Middleton said he awoke to banging and yelling in the early morning hours of Nov. 17, 2019.
He peeked out of his bedroom and saw two masked men moving through the second-floor apartment where he lived with Shatford, his mother, three siblings, and his sister’s boyfriend.
Middleton said he followed the men down the stairs and managed to grab one of them at the front door. He said he threw the man to the ground outside and started punching him.
As he continued to fight with the man, he saw his mother and Shatford pass by, heading to a vehicle parked on the street.
Middleton said he continued to fight with the man until he heard a gunshot. As he turned, he said, he saw Shatford fall to the ground.
He immediately went to Shatford’s side. He testified that the man with the gun then pointed it at him and his mother and told them to shut up.
Middleton said he tried to grab a large wrench that Shatford had dropped, but his mother wouldn’t let him take it.
As the vehicle pulled away, Middleton said, he threw the wrench at it but missed. What became of the wrench before police seized it in January remains unclear.
Middleton and his mother, Melissa Daley, both testified they don’t know how the wrench got back inside the apartment.
But pictures taken by Bodechon, who arrived at the scene at 5:50 a.m., appear to show the item on top of the fridge.
Bodechon took several pictures inside the home, including the one that show’s the computer screen in Middleton’s bedroom.
“I did that on my own,” Middleton said of the Facebook search. “I just wanted to see him.”
It was under cross-examination by defence lawyer Brian Munro that Middleton was asked about sending a Facebook message to Breau not long after the shooting.
Middleton admitted sending a message that he was going to round up some people and kill Breau.
He was also asked about his actions immediately after the shooting.
Middleton said he went to a “buddy’s” place but the person wasn’t at home. He was repeatedly asked to name the “buddy” but he refused each time.
“I’m not answering it,” he insisted, before the jury was led out of the courtroom.
After a short time — and some discussion in the absence of the jury and Middleton — the jury was brought back in and cross-examination resumed.
Middleton was again asked to name the person and said it was his ex-girlfriend, Bella McCutcheon. He told the court that he called her “buddy” because they were not dating at the time.
The trial is scheduled to resume Thursday morning.