The Crown’s star witness in a Hamilton murder case on the brink of a verdict has apparently been charged with an unrelated homicide.
Jason Frederick Lusted, 49, is facing second degree murder for the death of Earl Clapp, 74, of Pelham. Clapp is believed to have interrupted someone trying to steal a trailer from his property. Clapp was struck and dragged by the trailer as it fled, according to homicide detectives with Niagara Regional Police.
Lusted was arrested Saturday.
He has the same name and date of birth as the key witness in the case against notorious Hamilton career criminal Jeremy Hall.
Closing arguments finished at Hall’s high profile first degree murder retrial a few weeks ago and Justice Andrew Goodman is expected to deliver his verdict on Oct. 30.
Lusted and Hall were once best friends and partners in crime. Both men testified they ran a busy auto theft ring and chop shop throughout the Golden Horseshoe.
Hall, now 46, is alleged to have abducted, shot and burned Billy Mason in February 2006.
The Crown’s theory is Hall believed Billy set him up to rip off a drug dealer associated with the Hells Angels, causing members to shoot up his home in retaliation.
In 2013 a jury convicted Hall of first degree murder. The strongest evidence at that trial came from Lusted, who had earlier pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to murder in Billy’s death.
Lusted testified in vivid detail about being a shocked bystander to the abduction, his horror when Hall shot Billy and his reluctance to help get rid of the body. He told the court he and Hall drank a beer while Billy burned.
Hall says he barely knew Billy and had no beef with him.
The original guilty verdict was overturned on appeal and at this new trial, some of Lusted’s evidence was corroborated by a statement Hall’s ex-wife gave to police years ago. The jury at the first trial was not allowed to hear her statement.
At both trials Hall’s lawyer, Dirk Derstine, hammered away at Lusted’s credibility.
Even the Crown had to concede Lusted lied about some things under oath — including the location of the murder.
Neither the defence nor Crown could be reached for comment Sunday.
Billy’s mom, Donna Dixon, declined comment.
In Pelham, Earl’s final moments began Oct. 2, just before 2:41 a.m. at his home on Centre Street, according to detectives.
Earl was dragged north on Centre Street, then west on Highway 20. He was later found dead near Cream Street.
On Oct. 9, at 4:51 p.m., investigators arrested Matthew MacInnes, 39, of Wellandport for second degree murder. He was held in custody for a video bail hearing the following day.
Lusted, of no fixed address, was arrested Oct. 10 at 1:55 p.m. He was held in custody and scheduled to have a video bail hearing Oct. 11.
Police say they are looking for a 2007-2014 black Ford Expedition that may be associated to Lusted or MacInnes and driven on the night of the murder.
Anyone with information is urged bla bla bla…