"I'M GONNA kill him" was said by a man the same night he allegedly murdered his neighbour with a baseball bat, a court has heard.
Scott Marle took the witness box in the supreme court in Moree on Wednesday and said he had heard Bruce Anthony Coss tell Darren Royce Willis "there's not going to be a tomorrow" as they stood talking on a dark Bingara street.
Mr Marle said he then screamed at the top of his lungs, but it was too late.
Coss, 49, is on trial for murder after pleading not guilty to fatally striking 45-year-old Mr Willis in the dead of night in December 2010.
Mr Marle told the court he had earlier been drinking and taking cannabis with another mate and Coss when they started joking around and having "hypothetical" discussions about Mr Willis, after Mr Marle had a strange interaction with him at the village's Sportsmans Hotel.
Mr Marle said the trio were inside Coss' home when he showed them a wooden baseball bat with a metal clamp on the end.
Coss said that if he crossed paths with Mr Willis he was going to kill him, the court heard.
Mr Marle said he felt their joking around had turned serious and called Coss a "f***head", warning him "you don't get away with that".
He told the court he fell asleep but then woke to the sound of a banging door.
He said he could hear Mr Willis and Coss talking on the dark street out the front of their side-by-side homes.
He gave evidence he heard Mr Willis say "we'll sort this out tomorrow" and Coss reply "there's not going to be a tomorrow".
Mr Marle said he then remembered the earlier conversation and screamed.
He said he didn't see the alleged fatal blow but saw Coss walk back towards the house carrying the baseball bat.
I was in shock ... I didn't know what to think or what to do.- Scott Marle
"He's gone 'you didn't see anything' and I've gone 'well, I didn't see anything'," Mr Marle told the trial.
He said when the three men were back inside, he asked Coss where Mr Willis was, and he replied that he was out on the road and was dead, or going to be soon.
"I was in shock or something by then," he said.
"I didn't know what to think or what to do."
Coss came in and out of the house and Mr Marle said he noticed him moving around outside near his ute with a squeaky trolley.
He heard Coss put something onto the ute and eventually he drove off, the court heard.
Mr Marle told the trial it was hard to tell but about a few hours passed before Coss returned in his ute and said he'd been fishing, before washing up in the laundry and burning something in a fire drum near the home.
Mr Willis vanished from the town and a police investigation into his disappearance was launched in early 2011.
The police investigation was recommenced in 2018 and Coss was arrested in October 2019.
Mr Willis' body has never been found.
The judge-alone trial continues in Moree before Justice Hament Dhanji.
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content:
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.