Friend says 'something wasn't right' about Kachar before Russell's death
Just days before the death of Toronto Police Sgt. Ryan Russell, a man who called Richard Kachkar a "very close friend" said "something wasn't right" about the man he had known for over 10 years.
Harry Pessoa, known as Peter to some that knew him, testified on the 13th day of the Kachkar's murder trial that he was "worried" about his friend.
Pessoa told court that came to see Kachkar on Friday January 7th, 2011, the day he came to Toronto from St. Catharines. Kachkar was staying in Regent Park with his friend Steven Brown.
Court heard that Brown called Pessoa to come talk to Kachkar because something seemed off.
Kachkar had arrived at Brown's without much advance notice, only calling Pessoa earlier suggesting he'd be in Toronto on the weekend.
Pessoa told court that Kachkar lingered when the two embraced and that he had a bushy beard, something that was very out of character.
Kachkar spoke with Pessoa and in a hushed voice told him "there's cameras all around."
"He never said stuff to me like that," Pessoa told the jury.
Court has heard the Kachkar eventually left Brown's place without much warning and once again Pessoa was worried about his friend.
Later, when he heard on the news that a snow plow was stolen by a man fitting Kachkar's description he continued to worry.
Pessoa testified that he'd heard Kachkar may be at a shelter and showed up at the Good Sheppard on Queen St. asking for him.
"I think he's in big trouble," said the person at the front desk.
It was the second day the defence has presented evidence after opening to the jury on Tuesday. Kachkar's lawyer Bob Richardson argues that Kachkar should be found not criminally responsible for Sgt. Russell's death as he was suffering from a mental disorder at the time.
There is no dispute that Kachkar was driving the stolen snowplow that struck and killed the 35 year-old father on Avenue Rd. January 12th, 2011.
The crown case finished on Monday after 12 days of evidence, arguing that Kachkar is guilty of first-degree murder.
On Day 13 court also heard from social workers that dealt with Kachkar's family in St. Catharines in 2006.
Family and Children's Services Niagara became involved with the family after Kachkar's wife was hospitalized for depression.
Court heard the first time intake worker Stacey Cunningham met Kachkar he was smiling and laughing to himself.
"I thought he was having a conversation with himself or something inside of his head," she told the jury.
She also said Kachkar was hard to understand, stringing together words and phrases in a way that didn't make sense.
"(He) couldn't stay on topic...(and) didn't answer questions appropriately."
She suggested that Kachkar go see a doctor.
"I was hoping Mr. Kachkar would have a mental health assessment," she told court.