The man accused in the death of Richard Fernuk may have been captured on surveillance video wearing his suit jacket.
Leo Daniels, 39, is charged with first-degree murder, robbery and unlawful confinement in the death of Fernuk, 68, whose body was found by police on Aug. 3, 2019.
Fernuk’s two daughters Leah Howie and Lindsay Dahl testified in court on Friday after hearing information from Daniel’s testimony on Thursday that they say triggered a memory regarding the suit jacket the accused was wearing the night Fernuk was last seen alive.
Video surveillance footage of Daniels played in court on Thursday showed him wearing a black oversized suit jacket at a Circle K where he purchased a slushie and ice cream using Fernuk’s credit cards he had stolen from him.
Daniels told the courtroom how he went “garage shopping” the night he met Fernuk on Aug. 2, 2019.
He described going into random garages to see if they had padlocks and would steal items such as bike parts, or anything he liked. That night, Daniels said he stole three suit jackets.
Daniels told the courtroom he stole it because it said the word “Boss” inside it and thought “it looked cool.”
On Friday, Dahl testified she spoke with Crown prosecutor Sheryl Fillo after hearing Daniels mention the word “Boss” and how she and her sister remembered her father owned a Hugo Boss suit jacket.
Justice Heather MacMillan-Brown told the courtroom no suit jacket was found in Fernuk’s apartment and no suit has been found in any location.
Howie told court her father bought the suit jacket sometime between 2002 and 2012 at a thrift shop and the topic of the jacket came up over a period of months.
“He was just shocked that he was able to find a valuable, expensive suit, a Hugo Boss suit at a thrift store and that would have been something exciting and surprising,” Howie said.
Both sisters testified the discovery of the suit jacket excited Fernuk so much, that he came up with an idea to open a men’s consignment shop in Saskatoon.
“My dad often had lots of big ideas, he’d like to think he was an inventor. He had lots of different plans, things he was going to do, business opportunities,” Howie said.
Howie smiled while discussing his idea from the stand, calling him “a dreamer” and said that it’s a happy memory.
Howie said while he had expensive taste, Fernuk was never able to afford such items. She said that’s why the consignment shop idea excited him.
Dahl told court how she and her sister would visit Fernuk at a coffee shop or restaurant and their father would bring a little notebook where he kept his ideas.
Both daughters said they never saw the suit jacket in person.
During cross-examination defense lawyer Blaine Beaven questioned how Fernuk’s daughters never thought to bring up the suit jacket since the preliminary hearing in 2020.
He pointed out that surveillance video of Daniels wearing the suit jacket was shown multiple times during the trial and neither sister brought it up.
Dahl testified there was nothing particular about the suit jacket that made her remember until Daniels mentioned the Boss label.
After hearing both testimonies, Justice MacMillan-Brown told the courtroom she was satisfied with the evidence and that it would be admitted for the trial.
The trial will resume on Tuesday where both the Crown and defense will give their closing arguments.