An accused killer described for a jury Friday how he smiled and re-enacted two murders in order to pacify the real triggerman, who gleefully boasted “I’m two up” after executing two men inside a tiny downtown Toronto condo unit.
Kamal Hassan, 26, denies shooting Mohamed Dirie and Abdiweli Abdullahi, also both 26, around 7 a.m. on June 28, 2015. Hassan has testified the real culprit was Kwasi Skene-Peters, 21, who died weeks later in a shootout with police who were trying to arrest him for the double murder.
Video surveillance shows Hassan and a group of party-seekers arriving at 36 Lisgar St., near King St. W. and Dufferin, around 6 a.m. He has earlier testified Thursday that within an hour he saw and heard Skene-Peters gun down the two men and steal Dirie’s gold chain and watch.
A “nightmarish” situation unfolded, Hassan told court, when he fled the 22nd-storey unit using the stairs and was followed closely behind by Skene-Peters, whom he knew from his upbringing in the Jane St and Driftwood Ave. area.
“I’m scared,” Hassan testified. “I didn’t know what his next move was.”
When they got to the ground floor, Hassan said he flagged down his mother’s car being driven by a friend. He jumped in the back seat, and so did Skene-Peters.
“Why did you let him?” asked his lawyer, Adele Monaco.
“What am I going to say? He has two guns. He killed two people. I’d never say ‘get the f— out of my car.’”
Skene-Peters was rocking back and forth, shouting excitedly, “I’m two up, I’m two up, I’m two up,” Hassan testified.
Do you know what he meant? Monaco asked.
“One up means I killed a person, two up means I killed two people. That’s what people usually say when they kill people … it’s like a score.”
How did that make you feel?
“This guy’s f—ing crazy. I’m hoping I’m not the next guy he kills.”
Still in the car, Hassan said Skene-Peters asked him for some napkins, which he handed over, and “he begins wiping blood off the chain” he had taken from around Dirie’s neck.
Skene-Peters also had blood on his dreadlocks, Hassan said.
The driver, his friend “Gerber,” pulled into a gas station and jumped out with the other passenger, leaving Hassan alone with Skene-Peters. Hassan said the killer then told him they’d drive to the building where Hassan lived with family.
Monaco asked why he would agree to go there.
“I wasn’t going to argue with a person like that who I just seen kill two people.”
Hassan said he was in “survival mode” and did everything Skene-Peters asked — including wiping down the car for fingerprints and blood — to convince him he was OK with what happened and that he wasn’t a rat.
“I wanted him to feel comfortable.”
Hassan also agreed prosecutors got it right when they said that elevator surveillance cameras recorded him re-enacting the two murders about an hour after they happened.
“Basically, I’m glorifying what he did,” Hassan said, narrating the footage shown on several monitors.
“I’m in survival mode. I just wanted to get through the storm.”
Inside, he testified, he was “s—ing bricks.”
Hassan said when he saw that Toronto police put out a warrant for his arrest, he immediately turned himself in.
“I knew in my heart I was innocent,” he said. Monaco asked how he feels today.
“Four years is a very long time to be sitting in jail … for something I never did.”
During cross-examination, Crown attorney David Mitchell asked Hassan why he would leave a gathering in northwest Toronto to go all the way downtown to a party at 5 a.m.
“And it wasn’t much of a party and when you get there … two guys have guns,” Mitchell said.
“Aren’t you concerned that two guys there have guns?”
“I’m just minding my own business.
It’s their business if they have firearms,” Hassan replied.
“You’re the only eyewitness to a double execution, but Mr. Skene-Peters doesn’t shoot you?” Mitchell asked.
“This is somebody you barely knew?”
“Correct,” Hassan replied.
The trial resumes Monday.
Betsy Powell is a Toronto-based reporter covering crime and courts. Follow her on Twitter: @powellbetsy