Two men have told of the moment they watched their friend Russell Berry being beaten in a fight that would ultimately lead to his death.
Mr Berry, 41, died following a brawl on Wangaratta’s White Street in the early hours of May 20 last year, after Jacob Allan allegedly stomped on his head and chest.
Allan, 23, faced Wangaratta Magistrates Court on Wednesday, charged with murder.
Dressed in a pink shirt buttoned up to his tattooed neck, he winked and smiled at supporters in the public gallery as he entered the courtroom for the first day of a three-day hearing.
The court heard Mr Berry had been visiting his friend James Ferguson on the night but allegedly became the target of Allan and his cousin Christopher Meaney, who were walking past the house.
Mr Ferguson’s police statement said he first saw Meaney swing a bag into Mr Berry’s head, then Allan became the aggressor.
“I then saw Jacob punch Russell straight in the face. Russell went down and that’s the last time I saw Russell move,” he said.
“Jacob then moved to the top part of Russell and stomped on his chest and head.
“He stomped on him about four to five times in the head, about two to three in the chest and about two kicks on the ribs.”
Mr Ferguson’s housemate Jarred Dowdle gave evidence the pair had been smoking cannabis at home all day in the lead up to the deadly brawl.
He said Mr Berry had shown up later in the evening with a beer in his hand and yelled out “see you Boo Boo”, referring to another friend.
Meaney, whose nickname is Luda, thought this was an insult directed at him.
“They were yelling at Russ,” Mr Dowdle said.
“Someone said ‘don’t f—- with me, I’m Luda.”
Defence barrister Mark Gumbleton questioned Mr Dowdle about his friend Paul Kerr, who pulled two machetes out of his overalls to join the fight.
“He does it in a spectacular way … He’s swinging not one, but both of them,” Mr Gumbleton said.
The two witnesses had different recollections about whether Kerr pulled out the machetes before or after Allan allegedly stomped on Mr Berry’s head.
The committal hearing, to determine if there is enough evidence to send the case to trial, continues on Thursday.