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A Perth drug dealer murdered a man who called him a dog and owed him less than $1000 by shooting him in the head at close range, a Perth court has heard.

The 33-year-old accused man cannot be named for legal reasons but is standing trial in the WA Supreme Court accused of murdering 39-year-old Mario Perrin.

In his opening address, prosecutor Justin Whalley said the accused man shot Mr Perrin in the head at his Dianella home, in Perth’s north, in October last year over a drug debt.

Mr Whalley said the accused first visited Mr Perrin’s house on October 18 and smashed the door open to steal some items, including two ornamental swords and a television projector.  But the accused did not think that was enough to settle the debt, he said.

The accused and Mr Perrin then exchanged a series of text messages and agreed to meet at Mr Perrin’s house on October 23.

Mr Whalley said the pair shared a “simmering mutual hostility” and that during their heated text messages Mr Perrin signed his own death warrant by calling the accused a dog.

The accused went to the house armed with a gun and a friend named Chad John James, Mr Whalley said.

Mr Perrin had his two brothers and a nephew with him at the house in case the situation escalated, but they were in another room and did not witness the shooting

Mr Whalley said the accused fired at least three shots, including one at close range to Mr Perrin’s head, before fleeing.

Mr Perrin died in hospital about 1am on October 24.

The accused turned himself in to police on October 26 while Mr James was apprehended by police a few weeks later but was not charged.

However, the accused’s lawyer, Colin Lovitt, argued Mr James told a lawyer he had fired the shots.

He said Mr Perrin and his relatives, who were armed with hammers and baseball bats, had planned to ambush the accused once he was inside the house.

Mr Lovitt told the jury they should put aside any pre-conceived notions about his client and others involved in the case, most of whom were known drug users.

He said it was easy to assume a drug dealer would be guilty of such a crime, but told the jury they should listen to all the evidence before jumping to conclusions.

The jury trial has been set down for around mid December 2011


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