After two weeks of evidence detailing the night a 20-year-old grocery store clerk was stabbed to death in front of horrified customers, lawyers for the accused Randy Tshilumba are expected to begin presenting their defence to a jury this morning at the Montreal courthouse.
Prosecutor Catherine Perreault alleges Tshilumba, 21, stabbed Clémence Beaulieu-Patry 14 times while she was working at the Maxi grocery store in Montreal's Saint-Michel district on the evening of April 10, 2016, after she rebuffed his advances.
The jury has heard that the two attended the same high school but didn't know each other very well.
Bealieu-Patry's co-worker, Shaina Simon, testified that Tshilumba had asked Beaulieu-Patry out but she refused.
Simon testified Tshilumba also asked for Beaulieu-Patry's phone number and tried to friend her on Facebook, but she declined, saying she was already in a relationship.
Tearful eyewitness testimony
One of the first witnesses to testify was Pascale Nadège Joseph, who was shopping in the store with her husband and her four-year-old daughter that night.
She testified she saw a young man approach Beaulieu-Patry in the children's clothing section where she was working and, after a brief exchange, take out a large knife and stab her.
Nadège Joseph testified the suspect ran off and her husband ran after him screaming.
With tears in her eyes, she testified that she and other customers stayed with Beaulieu-Patry as she lay bleeding on the floor, saying "Stay with us, stay with us, we're here..." until an ambulance arrived.
Beaulieu-Patry was later pronounced dead at scene.
Surveillance video evidence
The prosecution presented surveillance video from the Maxi store that showed Tshilumba visiting the store a few times prior to the day of the killing.
It also showed surveillance footage that showed Tshilumba entering the store and heading to the children's clothing section that night in the minutes before the stabbing, and then running out of the store in the minutes afterwards.
There was also video evidence that showed Tshilmba entering a nearby Tim Hortons after the crime, where the prosecution said he took refuge for hours.
Police officers testified about a sheath and packaging for a 39 cm combat knife they later seized from Tshilumba's home. They also seized a jar of prescription pills in Tshilumba's name labelled "Citalopram."
Suspect googles 'how to get rid of blood stains'
A police officer also testified about Tshilumba's internet search history in the hours after the stabbing. It included search terms such as "how to clean blood stains," "how to get rid of a weapon" and "trash bag perfece ht murder."
After the crown wrapped its case Tuesday, defence lawyer Philippe Larochelle told Superior Court Justice Hélène Di Salvo was prepared to mount a defence with witnesses. That's set to begin Thursday morning.