Edward McInnis had been in St. John’s working on a film project and was having a drink on George Street late last summer when a man he didn’t know approached him, looking for a fight.
McInnis — a longtime cameraman who was reportedly in town working on a project with Hollywood actor Jason Momoa at the time — said he was outside Greensleeves having a cigarette when a man approached him aggressively, asking him, “Do you wanna go?”
“I said no, not interested, get away from me,” McInnis testified in provincial court Tuesday morning.
After watching the man then cross the street to Sal’s Pizza and continue the behaviour, McInnis said he walked toward him with the intention of trying to get him to calm down.
McInnis said he approached the guy and told him to “chill out,” to no apparent avail. The guy took his shirt off, revealing a torso and arms covered in tattoos, and appeared to walk away, McInnis said. Moments later, McInnis was stabbed in the back.
Man charged for downtown St. John’s stabbing incident
“I didn’t feel the knife at first. I thought I got punched in the back. But it was more than that,” McInnis said. “I felt the blood running down my leg.”
McInnis ended up spending 36 hours in hospital with a serious stab wound to his lower back. He was deemed unable to fly with the injury due to changes in atmospheric pressure, so he was forced to rent a car and take the ferry. Two days later, once the numbness subsided, the pain was excruciating, McInnis told the court.
McInnis said he didn’t see the person who stabbed him, and hadn’t seen a weapon.
Two other witnesses who testified in court Tuesday said they did see a weapon: a small knife with a red handle, like a switchblade. The man and woman, friends who had been on a night out downtown as part of a group, said they were in Sal’s Pizza when they saw through the window the knife being waved. The man told the court he didn’t know who had it, but the woman was clear: it was a man with no shirt and tattoos covering his body, including what she called “the devil’s number,” 666, on his abdomen.
“He was throwing (the knife) in there, just to make it known, I guess,” the young woman testified.
The tattooed man is alleged to be 23-year-old Corey Michael Evans of Mount Pearl, who has pleaded not guilty to a charge of aggravated assault and two charges of assault with a weapon in connection with the George Street stabbing. The incident reportedly happened just after 3 a.m. on Sept 1, 2017.
The male witness told the court he had met the tattooed man, whom he identified in the courtroom as Evans, inside the pizza shop. They had a friendly conversation about tattoos, the man said, before Evans left.
Minutes later there was shouting and a commotion and someone swung the knife in through the window, the man said. He said he told Evans, who was yelling, to calm down, and Evans walked away, turning his attention elsewhere. An employee of the pizza shop then asked the man and his friend to leave.
“I didn’t even look back. I was gone. I tried to stay out of all that stuff. I just wanted to get my pizza and go,” the man told the court.
The man’s friend told a different version of events, which appeared to be corroborated by surveillance video captured outside the pizza place. The woman said her friend had gone outside to try to break up an altercation between the tattooed man and someone else, but when she looked outside, he and the tattooed man were fighting instead. She said she pulled her friend back inside the pizza shop and the tattooed man came to the window, thrusting in the knife. The woman wasn’t able to identify him.
Both witnesses said they left George Street and went to Water Street once they were asked to leave the pizza shop, and learned about the stabbing once police arrived.
Another man who was inside the pizza shop at the time of the alleged incident also testified, saying he, too, had tried to calm the tattooed man down. He ended up with a cut on his thumb that required five stitches, he said, though he wasn’t sure how he got it and hadn’t felt any pain, but just noticed the blood.
He managed to take a short video of the commotion with his phone, which he turned over to police when they arrived.
Const. Alex Mackey of the RNC’s Major Crime Unit told the court Evans was identified as a suspect after she sent that video and other images captured at the scene to other RNC officers, who said they recognized Evans’ tattoos.
Police never recovered a weapon, Mackey said.
Evans’ trial is scheduled to wrap up Wednesday.