Charges dropped in Kitchener manslaughter case
Published Friday, September 21, 2012 2:38PM EDT
Last Updated Friday, September 21, 2012 7:43PM EDT
The Crown has withdrawn charges in a manslaughter case that drew protest and outrage. In May, John James, 18, died after being stabbed once.
Another 18-year-old, Zachary Schultz, admitted he inflicted the wound, that pierced the lung and heart, but it was never intended to kill, but instead in self protection of him self and a female acquaintance.
Today, for the first time, the facts surrounding the case were released to the public.
Defence Lawyer Paul Williams says "Basically it was self defence. The incident that occurred back in May that involved Mr. James and my client was self defence. That's what the evidence is lead to and that's what the Crown decided on."
Court learned James had been drinking and smoking pot that night. It was just before midnight when he approached the couple near Cameron Heights Collegiate asking for the time.
Schultz says, James left briefly, only to come back and demand money. From the pair he got, 10 dollars, a cell phone and an iPod.
The court then heard that James put the barrel of the gun into the female's mouth saying he'd kill her if he didn't get more and started counting backwards from ten.
Schultz said he opened his knapsack got his pocket knife and stabbed James. He and the girl ran went home told parents what happened and then called police.
Today the Crown withdrew the charge of manslaughter.
The decision today follows an extensive police investigation that considered a great deal of forensic evidence.
The 10 dollars, a cell phone and an iPod were all found in the front left pocket of James’ pants, along with a metal starter's pistol found beside him.
Inspector Kevin Thaler says, there was video evidence from the high school of a replica handgun which turned out to be a starter pistol.
“On the pistol was DNA confirming the fact the pistol had been placed in one victim's mouth." says Thaler.
Much of the evidence corroborated statements given to police early on in the case,
Just two days after the incident, family and friends of John James began protesting. They wanted to know why he accused was quickly released on bail and why he'd only been charged with manslaughter.
His lawyer Mark Parrott, has been representing the James family, guiding them through the process and keeping them informed of developments. He told them last night about the facts determined and what was going to happen.
"The families were understanding and to a great extent they were surprised as I think a lot of people have been. They were appreciated of the Crown's efforts and the police and I was happy to see that" says Parrot.
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