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Thursday, May 28, 2009

James Foldi inquest continues

May 28, 2009

Sleeping soundly in bed, James Casson and his wife were suddenly awakened at 2:30 a. m. by a crash at their Beamsville home's front door.

When it was followed by a second crash and the sound of the casing breaking on the steel door, they knew it wasn't the paper carrier, James Casson told jurors Wednesday at the coroner's inquest into the death of James Foldi .

Casson got out of bed and went to the stairs, where he discovered Foldi, a Village Park Drive neighbour.

"I said, 'You don't live here. Go home!' " Casson said he told Foldi, who seemed "out of it" and wouldn't make eye contact.

"They're after me. They're after me," Foldi said, waving his arms. "Help me! Help me!"

Residents of the Beamsville neighbourhood described for jurors Wednesday the bewildering encounters they had with the 39-year-old man in the last hour of his life on July 1, 2005.

Jurors also learned from police on the third day of the inquest that Foldi was Tasered at least seven times as they attempted to arrest him.

A pathologist ruled the death was caused by excited delirium brought on by acute cocaine poisoning.

Excited delirium is characterized by aggressive behaviour, super-human strength, high temperature, incoherence and imperviousness to pain, the jury has heard.

Niagara Regional Police were called to the neighbourhood that morning on reports of break-ins.

Casson said he called 911 after he and his wife physically pushed Foldi out their front door. They made three attempts before they were successful.

Afterwards, they found blood on both sides of the door, which Casson said had been bent "like an accordion."

Nearby on Crescent Avenue, Jeffrey Tallman was in bed and was also about to be awakened.

"I went from sound asleep to thinking I was having a strange dream to realizing someone was in our house," Tallman told jurors.

Tallman testified he heard a call for help. He followed his dog down the stairs to the front of his house where a man was standing. The man said something about a wolf and left, Tallman said.

There was a great deal of blood on the walls and Tallman said he believed Foldi had been looking for light switches.

Amanda Philbrick was in a Crescent Avenue home watching a movie downstairs with her boyfriend when they heard a noise upstairs and the word "help."

She went up and saw a man she didn't know inside the home trying to shut the front door. "He said, 'Help!' and he say, 'Help!' " she testified. "And he also said, 'Wolf.' "

She thought the wolf comment may be in reference to a husky dog lying nearby on the dining room floor.

"I was in shock. Who is this guy? What's going on? Why is he in the house?" she testified.

Philbrick told jurors Foldi rested his hands on her arms and said "Help," but she didn't feel threatened by him.

She said Foldi seemed panicked. "He seemed very scared. He didn't know what he was doing."

Police eventually confronted Foldi in a back bedroom of the bungalow, where he jumped out the window. Philbrick said he must have opened the closed window and punched out the screen to escape.

Outside the house, Tallman was on the sidewalk and saw a lot of commotion with police swarming the area. He said he heard Foldi say, "Don't shoot! Don't shoot!"

He also heard Taser sounds. It was the middle of the night and the action was between two buildings. "It was quite a loud electrical sound," Tallman said.

The inquest continues today.

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