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Accused killer lied about knife, court hears


A man on trial for second degree murder in Sudbury lied to police about the knife used to stab Charles St. Jean, 27, heard a Superior Court jury on Thursday.

During Crown cross-examination of 24-year-old Tyler Sels, it was understood that there were discrepancies between the accused’s testimony and his statement to police on the night of his arrest in September 2018.

The jury learned on Wednesday that Sels had “panicked” over the incident and attempted to hide the murder weapon behind the washer and dryer in the bathroom of Theresa Grasley’s Kingsway duplex where the stab wounds took place.

Thinking better, he retrieved the knife and returned to the living room when Grasley pulled the murder weapon out of Sels’ hand and hid it in the lining of the sofa.

Grasley then told Sels to “go and hide under the bed” where he remained until he was discovered by police, the court heard.

Deputy Crown Attorney Kaely Whillans said Sels told police he did not know the location of the knife the night it was taken into custody in his statement.

The jury heard that when the police asked him where he put the knife or who he had given it to, Sels replied, “I told you, I can’t help you.

He then instigated the police to hook him up to the polygraph to prove the validity of his statement.

Sels told the jury that he lied to the police because his lawyer told him not to say anything. He also said that after the stab wounds he was in shock and could not clearly remember the sequence of events.

“As I calmed down a bit, I started picking up the pieces,” Sels said.

Whillans continued to look for discrepancies in the accused’s testimony during Thursday’s cross-examination.

She focused on the “mechanics” of the incident when Sels allegedly stabbed St. John three times in the chest and abdomen and injured Stéphanie Martin and Marc-André Leduc while standing on the doorstep. the door to Grasley’s duplex.

The accused pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in the death of Saint John in addition to aggravated assault with a knife and assault with a weapon for injuring Martin and Leduc, respectively.

What is not at issue in the trial is that Sels used a knife to stab three people, the jury has already heard.

Deputy Crown Attorney Terry Waltenbury said the two key issues in the trial will be what prompted Sels to attack St. John and the other two people, and whether Sels used the knife in justified circumstances.

Sels told the jury on Wednesday he found himself in the middle of an argument between Grasley and neighbors who were attending a celebration of the life event of a Boston Pizza employee who died earlier in the week.

Grasley was “heavily intoxicated” and was reportedly “physically kicked” from celebrating a life event after making inappropriate comments, he said.

Later that evening, Grasley reportedly refused to let guests of the celebration of the event of life access the single staircase attached to the common terrace, resulting in an argument.

Sels told the jury that he saw two women physically assault Grasley and St. John “with his hands on his shoulders”, so he stepped in to intervene.

The jury heard that an “angry mob” had descended on Sels when he brought Grasley to safety inside the duplex. He allegedly grabbed a knife from a nearby table and shouted, “Back off! ”

The accused testified that Martin, St. Jean and Leduc were leading the “angry mob”, and they started beating him when he turned to check on Grasley’s welfare.

At this point, Sels said he began to “cut and stab frantically” for protection.

During cross-examination, Sels argued that he did not remember exactly what had happened. He called the scene “chaos” and repeatedly told the Crown that “it had happened so quickly”.

Whillans asked how Sels had received nine to 12 hits as he was bent over to check on Grasley’s welfare without being off balance.

She also wondered how none of the victims came into contact with the knife when they allegedly hit Sels.

According to the Crown, Martin was 5 feet 6 inches tall and Leduc was at least four inches shorter than the accused.

Saint-Jean was the smallest of the group and was 5 feet 5 inches tall.

Salts, meanwhile, stands at 6 feet-2. On the night of the incident, he told police he weighed 205 pounds, although his testimony contradicts that fact.

“If you were holding the knife in front of you in your right hand, how come your right hand turned and reached his right armpit?” Whillans said when asking about a specific injury inflicted on Saint John.

Sels replied that it would have been “difficult, but possible”.

Sels told Whillans during cross-examination that he held the knife in front of him but dropped it slightly when he leaned over to check on Grasley.

He said the knife did not come into contact with any of the victims until he stood up, “dropped the knife” at waist height and started stabbing and slashing at random.

Sels also testified that he suffered minor injuries during the incident. Although he was punched several times, he only noticed “some redness” under his eyes and in the middle of his chest.

Whillans also told the jury that Sels’ hands were swabbed by police following the incident and that blood was detected on his hands although it was not visible. Sels said he did not wash his hands at any time on the night of the incident.

“I never noticed blood on my hands,” he said.

The jury heard that Sels initially grabbed the knife with the intention of “rolling back (the group in front of him)”, to protect himself and Grasley, who remained on the ground during the incident.

He said that when he finally stabbed St. John in the abdomen, the victim became limp, lost strength, and Sels pushed him back through the door.

“Was it your intention to stab Saint-Jean and injure his body?” Said Whillans.

“Yes,” Sels said.

Cross-examination of the Crown is expected to continue on Friday.

The Local Journalism Initiative is made possible through funding from the federal government.

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