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Was man who accompanied shooter also guilty of attempted murder?

That's going to be up to the judge
A Sault Ste, Marie Police Service cruiser sits between two Wellington Street East homes in this Thursday, Oct. 23, 2014 file photo. Michael Purvis/SooToday

A Superior Court judge will decide June 8 whether or not Michael Bjornaa is guilty of charges stemming from a 2014 shooting of a local man by his co-accused.

Justice Ian McMillan reserved his decision Monday after hearing closing submissions from the Crown and defence following a three-day trial last week.

Bjornaa has pleaded not guilty to seven charges, including attempted murder with a firearm, in connection with the wounding of Jayme Carlson (Bellerose) on Oct. 22, 2014.

The incident occurred in what was described to the court as Sault Ste. Marie's violent drug subculture.

Bjornaa was with Daved Nadon, who admitted wounding Carlson when he pleaded guilty last year to attempted murder and seven other offences relating to the incident. He is serving a 10-year prison sentence.

Defence lawyer Don Orazietti opted not to call any evidence, but read in an agreed statement of fact that indicated that on Feb. 17, 2015, his client had gone into Nadon's cell at the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre and engaged in "some kind of fist fight."

Carlson testified last week that Bjornaa was with Nadon, when Nadon, wearing a skeleton mask, shot him numerous times with a handgun, inflicting 12 wounds.

The shooting was the culmination of a series of confrontations and escalating violence between the trio that began when Carlson pawned a diamond ring with Nadon's mother, Berni Nadon, and later took some items from the woman's apartment.

Orazietti argued that for his client to be convicted of attempted murder the Crown must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that he intended to kill Carlson when he went to the Wellington Street residence where the shooting occurred.

"That's the starting point," he told McMillan. "My position is that my client can't be convicted of having an intent to murder."

The veteran lawyer said he also takes the position that Nadon didn't intend to kill Carlson.

Numerous shots were fired from a revolver, 14 shell casings were found at the scene, as well as a bullet in the floor of the bedroom and another outside in a fence board, he said.

Orazietti referred to photographs of the bedroom door some of the shots went through, which he said showed "a willy nilly, haphazard pattern."

"We have someone just shooting off a gun, not focused on any objective, just numerous shots in all sorts of directions."

After Carlson fell to the floor, Nadon didn't administer a final shot but walked away, Orazietti said, asking "where is the intent to kill?"

"It's some kind of power trip," he suggested. "It suggests to me the independent act of someone who had a few loose screws."

He reminded the court Carlson had a knife and Bjornaa was carrying mace, the least offensive weapon.

Even if Nadon intended to kill the man, "where is the evidence my mace-carrying client intended to kill" Orazietti asked.

In every other confrontation Bjornaa, who was known as a fighter, had with Carlson, he used his fists, and he was willing to go there with Nadon, to settle his issue with the victim "mano to mano," he said.

"Nadon had a mission of his own, nothing contemplated by this accused."

Prosecutor Dana Peterson countered that Bjornaa was right beside, or just behind Nadon when he immediately began shooting at Carlson.

The forensic report indicates 14 shell casings were found and medical records show Carlson received a dozen wounds, she said.

"Twelve out of 14 shots isn't bad for accuracy. He was shot and wounded 12 times."

The assistant Crown attorney suggested "it's unfathomable" that Nadon didn't intend to kill Carlson.

When Carlson fell down and the shooting had stopped, Bjornaa came into the bedroom and deployed the pepper spray at Carlson, she said.

"This is not the action of someone shocked at what happened," Peterson said, suggesting it indicated "I'm in on it too."

Bjornaa knew there was a plan to shoot Carlson and was not surprised when it happened, she maintained.

"He may be surprised that he (Carlson) is still alive and he put his stamp on it," the Crown said. "This is a terrible crime."

Peterson agreed with the judge that it was bizarre that Bjornaa maced a man who had been shot and was lying on the ground.

"It is reasonable the shooting was not shocking or surprising to him," she said. "It could support he knew Nadon was going to shoot and could kill."

Carlson, who admitted he had a criminal record, and was involved in using and dealing drugs at the time of the incident, testified in a clear, straightforward manner, Peterson said.

"He was very forthright about his character and that he was part of why this escalated to this point."

Orazietti suggested Carlson was playing the "victim card here" because he has a criminal injuries compensation claim.

Bjornaa has also pleaded not guilty to using a firearm while committing the indictable offence of break and enter, discharging a firearm with the intent to wound or maim, unlawfully entering a dwelling with the intent to commit an indictable offence, using a firearm while committing the offence of unlawfully being in a dwelling, wounding Carlson, administering a noxious substance and possession of a firearm while prohibited.

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