A key Crown witness has described more details of Toronto millionaire philanthropist, Glen Davis’ “horrifying” 2007 murder.
Jesse Smith, 27, was testifying in the first-degree murder trial against two former business associates, Ivgeny “Eugene” Vorobiov and Dmitri Kossyrine.
The pair is being jointly tried for killing Davis in an underground parking garage in North York.
The Toronto philanthropist, 66, had been a faithful supporter of the WWF and other environmental initiatives to protect land in Canada.
Smith told the court he drove the car that brought Vorobiov to the murder scene that night.
Under cross examination by Vorobiov’s defence lawyer, Liam O’Connor, Smith agreed Vorobiov came out from the underground parking garage where Davis was shot and returned to the car hyperventilating and breathing hard. Smith also insisted that Vorobiov confessed that he’d shot Davis, who begged for his life, “twice in the back and in the front”, Smith testified.
Smith, Vorobiov, and Kossyrine were all charged with first-degree murder in April 2009, after a long investigation, but a week before the preliminary inquiry, on May 27, 2010, Smith cooperated with police, giving them a more detailed statement ”in order to help himself,” O’Connor suggested.
Smith then pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of accessory to murder. In November 2010 and was sentenced to five years in prison.
“I was trying to protect Eugene but it wasn’t going well,” Smith, explained in a monotone voice, when asked by O’Connor why he’d originally told detectives that Vorobiov “said nothing” about killing Davis.
Smith later admitted to having driven Vorobiov to Davis’ place on May 18, 2007, the night of the murder, but when he was arrested, he told police that he “didn’t know what was going on.”
The two men drove away from the crime scene and went to a casino to gamble and have dinner, ditching the gun on the way in Port Perry, Smith agreed.
O’Connor wanted to know why Smith changed his story many times, even occasionally providing evidence that eventually incriminated him.
“I don’t know,” Smith replied, although he acknowledged it could have been to protect his young Cuban wife and baby daughter.
O’ Connor asked Smith whether it was because he was afraid that Vorobiov and Kossyrine would be mad at him when they read the statement Smith gave police incriminating them, or that someone else could help themselves and point the finger at Smith.
“No, that’s not true,” Smith said.
Smith was one of four men involved in the plot.
The mastermind, Marshall Ross, Davis’ cousin and godson, pleaded guilty to first-degree murder in October, and admitted that he arranged for Davis to be killed. Ross was in a lot of financial trouble and owed Davis approximately $2.5 million.
According to O’Connor, Smith was present at a local Home Depot parking lot where Ross laid out the motive for the murder, in a meeting with Vorobiov, who has been described as a heavy cocaine user.
“Marshall said ‘This guy is spending our family’s money, he shouldn’t be, he’s adopted, and I should be in charge.’” O’Connor suggested.
Smith admitted he was present at the meeting between Vorobiov and Ross, when Ross ordered Vorobiov to kill Davis. He even admitted to having overheard Vorobiov and Ross getting in an argument over the murder, and Ross saying “If you won’t do it, give me the gun and I’ll do it myself,” before storming off, but insisted he did not know where or for what purpose he was driving Vorobiov the night of the murder.
The trial will resume on Tuesday.