Police charge 19-year-old in violent attack on gay N.S. man
Friends and family believe Scott Jones was attacked because of his sexual orientation
Police in New Glasgow, N.S., have arrested a 19-year-old man from nearby Trenton, in connection with a violent attack that left a gay man paralyzed from the waist down.
Police said Shane Edward Matheson, 19, of Trenton is charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace, in the violent attack on 27-year-old Scott Jones early Saturday morning.
The accused was arrested without incident at a home on High Street in Trenton at 11 p.m. AT on Saturday.
Matheson is facing another charge of assault with a weapon for an incident earlier in the evening against an 18-year-old woman. New Glasgow police Const. Ken Macdonald said that charge is unrelated to the attack on Jones, which happened shortly before 2:30 a.m. local time on Saturday.
Jones' friend and roommate Amy Punke said she and Jones were out with friends celebrating the opening of a friend’s art studio.
Though she didn't witness the attack, Punke has been speaking to Jones, who remains in critical but stable condition in a Halifax hospital.
Punke said she had gone on ahead to the next bar when the attack happened.
She said two men that had been at the first bar approached Jones and another friend. While one of the men distracted Jones’ friend, Punke said the other man grabbed Jones from behind and whispered something in his ear before stabbing him in the back twice and slashing his throat.
Jones told Punke he doesn’t know what the man whispered.
The injury to Jones’ throat was superficial but the stabbing severed his spinal cord, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
Following the attack, Jones was taken to Aberdeen Hospital but then was airlifted to the Queen Elizabeth II Health Sciences Centre in Halifax.
Friends and family said they believe Jones was attacked because he's gay.
"Myself, and his family and the people that know him, we feel that he may have been targeted because of the fact that he’s gay — and he’s openly gay in town," said Punke in an interview with CBC News on Saturday.
Police still are not commenting in the allegations the attack was motivated by the victim’s sexual orientation. They said they are still speaking to witnesses.
The accused has been remanded into custody and is scheduled to appear in Pictou provincial court on Tuesday.