By Tim Petruk, Kamloops This Week
The admitted gunman in the fatal shooting of a Shuswap drug dealer changed his story drastically in a Kamloops courtroom on Monday, a move a prosecutor said was made by the killer to protect himself behind bars.
Nick Larsen, 24, was shot to death on a quiet Blind Bay street on June 1, 2011. Jordan Barnes pleaded guilty in 2016 to second-degree murder in connection with Larsen’s death and was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Barnes and Jeremy Davis were arrested and charged in 2014 at the culmination of an undercover RCMP investigation.
Davis, who is also charged with second-degree murder in connection with Larsen’s death, had his trial begin in February with the testimony of Barnes on behalf of the Crown. On Feb. 6, Barnes said he and Larsen became involved in a turf war over drug sales in the Blind Bay area.
Barnes said he met Larsen hours before the murder while attempting to buy cocaine. Court heard Larsen kicked in the door of Barnes’ Sorrento home and pointed a handgun at him.
“He said I can’t be dealing in this town,” Barnes said at the time. “I wanted to get half an ounce. He thought I was moving into his territory. I just remember seeing a gun and seeing red. I snapped.”
In court in February, Barnes said he asked Davis for a ride, hoping to catch and “beat up” Larsen. During his earlier testimony, Barnes said Davis slammed on the brakes of his GMC Jimmy when they spotted Larsen’s vehicle. When that happened, he said, a gun slid out from under the passenger seat and he left the SUV and opened fire on Larsen.
In February, Barnes said he didn’t know who the gun belonged to or why it was in Davis’ vehicle.
In court on Monday, Barnes said the gun was his and he knowingly took it before going out to look for Larsen.
Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan suggested the change in Barnes’ story was a result of his fear of potential retribution if Davis, who remains free on bail, is housed in the same federal penitentiary as him.
Barnes replied by saying he is the sole person responsible for Larsen’s death.
“I don’t want to put someone away who shouldn’t be put away and that could piss him off, yeah,” he said “I don’t want to be labelled a rat for something someone didn’t do, for something I’ve already taken responsibility for … He didn’t know what he was getting himself into and I didn’t know what I was getting into. I wish it hadn’t happened.”
“You don’t want Mr. Davis there telling other inmates you’re responsible for him sitting in jail,” Crown prosecutor Neil Flanagan put to Barnes.
“All the guys I live with know exactly what is going on,” Barnes replied. “I’ve been Googled. I just want to do the right thing.”
“What is the truth — the truth about the gun and how it came to be in the Jimmy?” Flanagan asked.
“I brought the gun,” Barnes replied. “I put it under the seat. I grabbed it when I got out, unwrapped it and used it, unfortunately.”
Davis’ trial is expected to conclude next month.