Teen seeking lost cell phone bled to death in parking lot, murder trial hears

The second-degree murder trial of Mohamed Sail, a 26-year-old from Calgary, accused of killing Jeremy Cook, got underway Wednesday in London.

Jeremy Cook was found with 2 bullet wounds in a parking lot in London after tracking his stolen cellphone

Jeremy Cook was shot and killed after using an app to track down his lost smartphone in London, Ont. (London Police Service)

Jeremy Cook bled to death in front of strangers in a parking lot after he confronted two men about his lost cell phone, a London, Ont. jury heard Wednesday.

Deputy Crown attorney Fraser Ball outlined the details of the evening Cook died during his opening statement in the second-degree murder trial of Mohamed Sail of Calgary. 

Sail, 26, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in connection with Cook's death on June 14, 2015. The Crown says it followed a dispute over a cell phone that Cook had lost earlier. Cook had tracked the phone to Sail using an online app, according to the Crown.

Ball said Cook was an 18-year-old carpenter's apprentice in London who ran his own business and lived with his sister, Kayla, who planned to begin her studies at Fanshawe College in the fall.

Both had gone out to celebrate a friend's birthday party at Jack's, a downtown London bar, but Cook lost his cell phone in the back seat of a cab on the way there.

It wasn't until he returned home later that night that he used the app in order to pinpoint the iPhone's exact location, Ball said.

Mohamed Ibrahim Sail, of Calgary, is accused of second degree murder in the death of Jeremy Cook.

The tracking app led Kayla and Jeremy Cook to a parking lot in the Huron and Highbury area, not far from the house the Cook siblings were renting.

Kayla drove Jeremy to the parking lot where they found two men in a silver Mazda 6, Mohamed Sail and Muhab Sultan.

Ball told the court that the siblings asked the men if they had found a phone and Sail suggested they call it.

When it rang, Ball said, Sail answered the phone in the passenger seat, who said he didn't believe it was their phone.

"To this point, this had been a peaceable interaction," Ball said.

'The briefest of warnings'

Ball told the jury that Sail asked Kayla to punch in the security code in order to prove that the phone belonged to her brother.

When she did, he didn't let go and Sultan, who was driving, revved the car's engine, giving Kayla what Ball called "the briefest of warnings."

Ball then described the car whipping forward, knocking Kayla back. In the fray, her brother grabbed hold of the car with both hands, lifting his legs and disappearing from her view up the street.

"That was the last time she saw her little brother alive," Ball told the jury.

'Drive! Drive! Drive!'

Ball said the jury would hear from several witnesses who would describe seeing Cook clinging to the side of the silver Mazda 6 as it raced up Highbury Avenue, his heels skidding along the pavement as if he were waterskiing.

Witnesses saw the car veer into a nearby plaza to a Shoppers Drug Mart where two loud bangs were heard, before someone started yelling "Drive! Drive! Drive!"

Ball told the jury that, according to witnesses, the second bang was louder than the first and one witness described someone crying out "in the worst way imaginable."

Ball told jurors that would hear that Cook was hit by two bullets, one that fractured his shoulder.

Killed by a shot to the chest

"It didn't kill him," Ball said. "It was the shot to the chest that killed him."

Ball said the autopsy revealed that the second bullet that hit Cook destroyed the blood vessels to the heart.

"Jeremy wouldn't be able to cry out after second shot," Ball said, noting the autopsy also found glass matching the Mazda 6 in the parking lot where Cook died and in his t-shirt.

After Cook was shot, a number of strangers came out to help, Ball said. They rolled Cook over but couldn't find a pulse.

App still tracking car

About half a kilometre away, Jeremy's sister Kayla was frantic. The Crown said she dialed 911 as she chased after Jeremy and the car. When police found her, the app was still tracking her brother's phone, showing its exact location.

As for the two men in the Mazda, their car crashed not long after leaving the scene, Ball said, jarring people out of their beds when it plowed into a fence, disabling the vehicle.

When police found the car, the back windshield was shattered and a gold shell casing was found inside, along with a McDonald's cup, according to Ball.

The two men were gone and the iPhone had been abandoned not far from the wreck.

Police recover weapon

"Police recovered it between two houses near a downspout," Ball said.

Witnesses spotted the two men running through the street. The Crown said Mohammed Sail roused a woman from bed when he rang her doorbell. She found Sail on the porch, who said he was lost and needed a cab after he got into a fight with his girlfriend, who kicked him out of the car.

While Sail took a cab, the Crown said, the other man, Muhab Sultan, went on the run.

He died in Ottawa when he drowned while trying to evade capture by police by swimming across a river.

Finally the Crown told the jury that they would learn from a firearms expert that the gun used in the shooting was a .40 calibre Taurus PT slim, which police found in Toronto and matches the gold .40 calibre bullet found in the car and the bullet fragments found in Jeremy Cook's shoulder.

The jury, comprised of six men and six women, was instructed first by Justice Peter Hockin to "act as judges of this case."

The trial is set to last four to five weeks. 

About the Author

Colin Butler

Video Journalist

Colin Butler is a veteran CBC reporter who's worked in Moncton, Saint John, Fredericton, Toronto, Kitchener-Waterloo, Hamilton and London, Ont. Email: colin.butler@cbc.ca