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Island man guilty of murder, victim lured to remote area and shot 12 times

Damien Medwedrich convicted in 2020 Langford killing of Alex Knatchbell
Alex Knatchbell, 26, was killed in Langford in 2020. Damien Medwedrich was found guilty of first degree murder on April 19 for shooting Knatchbell. (Photo Courtesy Knatchbell’s Family)

Damien Medwedrich has been found guilty of first degree murder for the 2020 shooting of 26-year-old Alex Knatchbell on Humpback Road in Langford on Friday, April 19.

Knatchbell, who the judge said was a known drug dealer, had been lured to a remote area of Humpback Road late in the evening of Jan. 20. 2020, and shot 12 times while sitting inside his Nissan Pathfinder.

Despite calling the main witness unreliable, Justice Veronica Jackson found that enough of the witness’s testimony was corroborated by physical evidence, audio recordings and cell phone records to establish beyond a reasonable doubt that Medwedrich shot Knatchbell with “murderous intent.”

The name of the witness is protected by a publication ban.

Jackson gave her reasons before the court, establishing first why she deemed the testimony to have come from a “vetrovec,” or unreliable witness.

A witness falls into this category if they are deemed to be unsavoury or disreputable due to involvement in criminal activity, a motivation to lie, inconsistent testimony, or other such factors.

The evidence provided by such a witness can still be admitted, but its unreliability must be taken into account.

During the verdict, Jackson told the courts that she decided to disregard some of the inconsistent testimony, focusing solely on the parts that related to the question of whether Medwedrich was the shooter.

Actual, physical evidence did link Medwedrich to the shooting, as well.

The court heard that when he was arrested in Prince George 10 days after the shooting, he had the gun that matched the one used to kill Knatchbell in his possession.

The arrest happened near a mall, after Medwedrich crashed his car into a snowbank. A surveillance camera captured him retrieving the .22 caliber Ruger rifle from the trunk of the car after the crash. He was later arrested on foot, after slipping on a snowbank and dropping the weapon.

Evidence from cell phone towers also put Medwedrich at the scene of the shooting.

And a recording was presented in which Medwedrich is heard talking on the phone to an unnamed person on the night of the killing, seeming to admit to shooting Knatchbell.

“I did it and then he crashed into a tree,” Medwedrich is heard saying.

Medwedrich was also heard using “I,” rather than “we,” suggesting he acted alone in the shooting, Jackson said.

Jackson said the evidence also clearly establishes that the murder was premeditated.

The justice said she considered several factors in determining this, including the number of times Knatchbell was shot and how he was shot. Jackson called it a “deliberate execution.”

Overall, Jackson said the evidence portrayed a murder that was “carefully thought out” by Medwedrich.

Sentencing will be scheduled at a hearing on May 15.

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About the Author: Mark Page

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