Screams for help jolted Lindsay Macri from a deep sleep in the early morning hours of Aug. 16, 2019.
“It was a guttural scream, like a scream for your life,” Macri said Wednesday (Jan. 13), testifying in Surrey Provincial Court, in the trial of two teens charged with killing South Surrey mechanic Paul Prestbakmo nearly 18 months ago.
Looking out of her bedroom window that August morning – it overlooks the commercial parking lot at the southwest corner of 18 Avenue and 152 Street – Macri said she saw a man rolling on the ground and, out of the corner of her eye, two individuals walking away.
At first, Macri told the court, she thought what she was seeing was just another incident of the late-night trouble she had become accustomed to hearing unfold in the area – “there’s always something happening late at night,” she said – and that the man on the ground had just been deserted by friends after an altercation of some sort.
“I thought they were his friends and they were walking away.”
But while on the phone with 911, Macri heard the man’s voice one more time.
“He yelled out, ‘I’ve been stabbed,'” she said. “After that he went silent to me, I couldn’t hear anything else.”
Prestbakmo was found with fatal stab wounds just after 3 a.m., in a parking lot in the 1800-block of 152 Street.
The killing occurred just a few hours after a White Rock senior suffered what police described as “life-changing” injuries in an assault that took place near the same location.
Two teens, aged 15 and 16 years old at the time, were charged in connection with both attacks, and a trial on charges of second-degree murder and aggravated assault got underway Monday (Jan. 11). It is currently scheduled for 24 days. Both accused have pleaded not-guilty.
Monday, Crown counsel Stephanie Sfikas told the court that evidence including CCTV footage will show that the two accused committed the offences after twice leaving a house party; the first time when they left to get cigarettes, and the second, when they left “to calm down.” The second time, on encountering Prestbakmo, they stabbed him 42 times, she said.
Due to their ages, the identities of the accused are protected by a publication ban.
In court Wednesday, Macri described the two people who she saw walking away from the scene as male, and said one was wearing either a hoodie or a hat.
“They were young,” she added, explaining that she came to that conclusion based on their demeanour and the way they walked.
Macri said she could see that the man in the parking lot was older, and that she realized he was surrounded by blood – “That’s all I could see,” she said.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team Const. Chulki Hong, who was the crime-scene manager on the case, also testified Wednesday.
Responding to questions from co-Crown counsel Louise Kenworthy, he confirmed that officers directed to search the area – including those specifically directed to look for knives – “did not turn up anything of interest in the parking lot” where Prestbakmo was found.
He also confirmed that a curved knife was among items seized as evidence during a search of a South Surrey home.
Civilian witness Barb Hooymans – Prestbakmo’s common-law partner – told the court she last saw “Pauly” around 3 a.m. Aug. 16, after he helped clean up dog food she’d found rotting under her kitchen sink. She was grossed out by the find, but Prestbakmo told her, “I’ll take care of it, don’t worry about it,” she said.
When he left to take out the garbage, he was “happy, smiling,” Hooymans said. She said she wasn’t concerned when he didn’t return, as it wasn’t out of character.