Michael Swan may have lost his life because of a home invasion over drugs and money, but that’s not the way his best friend Tyler Tanguay wants him to be remembered.
“He was one of the best guys you’ll ever meet,” said Tanguay, 25, during his testimony on Oct. 15 at the first-degree murder trial of Dylon Barnett. Barnett is being tried for the shooting death of Swan, 19, after Barnett allegedly entered Swan’s home with two other men looking for drugs and money on Feb. 21, 2010. Kristopher McLellan, who shot Swan, and another accomplice, Kyle Mullen, were convicted in October last year of first-degree and second-degree murder, respectively.
While Tanguay knew that Swan sold marijuana out of his house on Moodie Drive, he said that the image of Swan as a drug-dealer “was not him, whatsoever.” Swan, often pictured in a baseball cap cuddling two dogs, was described as “open-hearted” by Tanguay.
When asked by Crown prosecutor Mark Moors if Swan had security measures in place to protect his cache of drugs and money, Tanguay said that Swan never had any weapons. “It didn’t cross his mind that somebody would do this to him,” he testified.
Swan’s parents Dale and Rea, accompanied by family friends, sat in court and wiped away tears as Tanguay recounted the night of Swan’s murder. This was the third time they had heard Tanguay testify about the events of that night, but still Rea Swan hid her face in her hands.
According to Tanguay, three men in black masks and clothing entered the house on Moodie Drive where Swan lived with two roommates. Tanguay, Swan and Kaitlyn Scott, Swan’s girlfriend, were in Swan’s bedroom when the men burst in with two handguns and demanded drugs and money. According to Tanguay’s testimony, Swan responded to their demands by saying “I have nothing,” and the tallest man of the three shot him in the right side of the chest. Swan was dead within a minute.
Shortly afterwards, Tanguay, Scott and Swan’s two roommates were herded into a spare bedroom whilst the intruders rifled through Swan’s belongings, and then to a sauna in the basement. One of the perpetrators told them to wait in the sauna for 20 minutes and threatened that he “might be waiting” for them if they left before then. The group waited for approximately five minutes before exiting and calling 911.
During Tanguay’s testimony, Barnett pulled at his collar but was otherwise impassive as he stood in the prisoner’s box. The Crown alleges that Barnett forcibly confined Tanguay, Scott and the two roommates. Tanguay described one of the perpetrators who confined him as more “tanned” than the others but was uncertain if this man, alleged to be Barnett, carried a weapon or not.
Barnett’s trial continues this week and is expected to finish by the end of October.