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Defence Suggests Key Witness to Halifax Murder Was Sleeping With Victim’s Wife

Jimmy Melvin’s lawyer suggested the Crown’s star witness had reason to see the victim dead.
Jimmy Melvin | Source Image via. Christian Laforce

The defence attorney for James "Jimmy" Melvin Jr.—accused of first-degree murder in the death of Terry Marriott Jr.—suggested that Melvin's main accuser, star witness Derek MacPhee, was sleeping with the victim's wife.

"You've certainly told people that you were in a relationship with [Marriott Jr.'s wife] Nadine Marriott prior to when he was killed," lawyer Patrick MacEwen said to Derek MacPhee, who is receiving immunity for charges of helping Melvin commit the murder, and for charges of a 2015 home invasion, in exchange for his co-operation with the Crown.


MacPhee denied that, saying that he only developed a romance with Nadine Marriott at least a month after her husband was killed. MacPhee said that the relationship was "a comfort thing."

"So Terry was killed in February…and after that you had a… relationship with Nadine Marriott, the wife of the person you admitted to helping with killing," said MacEwen.

MacEwen brought up friends of MacPhee who had told the defense that the two had an affair. MacPhee brushed it off, pointing to gossip in small-town Spryfield. "I don't understand what relationships have to do with anything, and I definitely never had an affair with her while he was alive," MacPhee said.

"How many times can you try to save a guy's life, you know?"

MacEwen also asked MacPhee why he hadn't put brakes on the plan that was allegedly in motion to kill Marriott. On Monday, MacPhee said that when Melvin wanted to kill Marriott in MacPhee's own house, he made a plan to kill Marriott elsewhere and made sure that Melvin was successful. Melvin was persuasive, MacPhee said, and he felt powerless to prevent the murder, so he wanted to at least prevent any extra complications. "I didn't want the guy to get killed, period," he said. "I really didn't want it to happen in my house."

MacEwen asked why MacPhee didn't call the police if he was so concerned that Melvin would kill Marriott.

"You had a phone on you. Terry was a friend. You could have called and said something's going on," he said.

MacPhee said that Melvin had planned to kill Marriott earlier, but that time, MacPhee called the police to defuse the situation. "If I called the cops again and they showed," MacPhee said, "he would have known it was me. "How many times can you try to save a guy's life, you know?" MacPhee explained that, before he drove Melvin to their friend John Lively's house to kill Terry Marriott, he went to that house alone and gave Lively and Marriott sleeping pills at their request. Marriott had being doing cocaine for a number of days, MacPhee claimed, and had recently been beaten up, so he wanted something to help him sleep. That would have meant that MacPhee gave Marriott a sleeping pill just before he helped Melvin kill him.

MacEwen also questioned why MacPhee drove an ATV to Lively's door to drop off Melvin: "Why did you go? You're not required for this." MacEwen added that "Driving a four-wheeler is not a two-man operation….he could have walked down there." "That would have been some escape route," MacPhee said. MacEwen drilled down on this and asked why he brought along his own gun on the four-wheeler ride with Melvin. "You're the driver," MacEwen said. "What do you need a gun for?" MacPhee said that the reason he helped Melvin kill Marriott was that he was "in a fucking pickle here. I loved [Melvin], I loved [Marriott]." MacPhee began to cry. Later Wednesday afternoon, MacEwen asked if MacPhee was the one who killed Marriott, and said that MacPhee told his associates that he had done the murder himself, including a friend from prison: "I'm going to suggest that you said you 'blew noodles' out of Terry's head." "I'm going to suggest that you're full of fucking shit," MacPhee answered. This is the last day of MacPhee's testimony and cross-examination. As the afternoon wrapped up, Judge Jamie Campbell told the jury that it would be "dangerous" to use MacPhee's word as evidence if it wasn't corroborated by other people, adding that because he is testifying for immunity from prior crimes and receives a financial stipend for testifying that MacPhee has a "significant incentive" to lie. Before the judge addressed the jury MacPhee made his last comments on the stand. "Jimmy used to say all the time, 'I don't know about you but I'll be the last motherfucker standing.'" Follow Katie on Twitter.