Crown prosecutor Brendan Crawley has told a jury his case for murder began with an altercation on Queen Street East the night of December 10, 2016.
That’s when alleged gang member Ron Clarke was attacked with the same weapon — a tire iron — in a street-fighting routine that he witnessed and participated in himself.
Fellow gang member John Hart — who was 21 years old at the time of the crime — was in the group that was pursuing Clarke.
They met up with a third suspect, 20-year-old Jordan Murphy, who according to witnesses, told Hart that they had “to do something,” Crawley told the Court of Queen’s Bench in Toronto.
“Jordan Murphy told John Hart to go get the tire iron,” Crawley said, according to CBC News. “Jordan Murphy handed the tire iron to Ron Clarke and they began to fight with the tire iron.”
“I believe it’s called a ‘boot first’ fight,” added Crawley.
Later that night, police discovered the badly decomposed body of the rapper. He had been shot twice in the head and once in the right arm.
Murphy had gone to Hart’s house to steal a flat-screen TV and then set out to ambush an unknown person named Smoke Dawg, the Crown said. That person was more likely to be Hart’s brother Smoke Dawg, the Crown argued.
But Murphy’s defense attorney, Ken Marley, argued that Murphy and his family went to the house to look for clothes for a friend.
Prosecutors have indicated that the nature of the dispute and the fact that the murder weapon was found near Hart’s home were evidence that he had a personal motive for carrying out the killing.
“Both murder suspects are men with criminal histories, one with prior convictions for assault and one with multiple prior convictions for robbery and other types of assault,” Marley said to the jury in his opening statements last week.
Both suspects are facing a first-degree murder charge.
“Smoke Dawg was both an integral member of the Nine Trey Ceilings and a family man,” Harper said in her opening statements. “Smoke Dawg was gunned down while his friends and family surrounded him. He was going to see his kids off at school and celebrate Christmas.”
The case is expected to last a few weeks.