Home » The Canadian Press » Murder Trial Begins for Manitoba Man Accused of Running Down, Shooting Neighbour

Murder Trial Begins for Manitoba Man Accused of Running Down, Shooting Neighbour

May 15, 2023 1:11 PM | The Canadian Press

By Brittany Hobson, The Canadian Press

Eric Wildman

Eric Wildman is shown in this recent surveillance footage. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO – RCMP)

WINNIPEG — A jury heard Monday that a Manitoba man on trial for killing his neighbour allegedly ran the victim down before shooting him three times during a botched robbery.

Eric Wildman pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Clifford Joseph, 40, who was reported missing on June 7, 2021.

Joseph’s remains were found the following month in a rural area northeast of Winnipeg.

Crown attorney Bryton Moen told court in his opening statement that no one witnessed the killing, but the jury will hear evidence that Joseph went to Wildman’s house in the rural municipality of St. Clements with a plan to steal from him.

It is alleged that Wildman then ran Joseph over with a car and shot him. An autopsy determined Joseph had a broken leg and broken jaw.

“But those didn’t kill him,” Moen said. “What killed him were three gunshots, including one to the back of the head.”

Wildman, wearing a grey suit with slightly dishevelled hair, sat in the courtroom with a slight smile on his face.

The Crown told the jury that Joseph was “no angel” and had a history of using drugs and stealing.

“(Joseph) went to steal from Eric Wildman. That, however, did not make it OK for Eric Wildman to kill him,” Moen said.

Joseph’s girlfriend reported him missing to RCMP after he didn’t return home.

Moen told court that the girlfriend went searching for Joseph at Wildman’s property, where she found his shoes, hat and headlamp. She also discovered his truck with his keys and phone inside.

A forensic expert with the RCMP testified that officers examined the vehicle but found no fingerprints.

An agreed statement of facts read into court said a search of Joseph’s phone found no contact between him and Wildman before his disappearance.

Const. Kyle Beech testified he was one of the officers who first arrived at Wildman’s property. He said officers found Joseph’s tools on a black utility trailer on the property.

RCMP later used ground-penetrating radar to search the property but did not find Joseph.

Court heard Wildman rented a car and drove to Ontario after RCMP named him as a suspect in Joseph’s disappearance.

Ontario Provincial Police found Wildman at a home just outside Belleville, about 180 kilometres east of Toronto, on June 18, 2021.

Wildman initially refused to leave the home, court heard. When police took him into custody, he had a handgun, and ammunition was found in his rental car.

The trial is scheduled for five weeks in front of Court of King’s Bench Justice Richard Saull.

CP - The Canadian Press

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Tags: Crime | Death | Winnipeg