The man accused of attacking a gay Nova Scotia man outside of a club in New Glasgow, N.S., last October has pleaded guilty to attempted murder.
Shane Edward Matheson, 19, of Trenton, N.S., was charged with attempted murder, aggravated assault and possession of a weapon dangerous to the public peace following the Oct. 12 attack.
- Scott Jones says he was attacked for being gay
- Police charge 19-year-old in violent attack on gay N.S. man
Scott Jones, 27, believes he was attacked because he is gay. He was knifed after leaving a bar on Oct. 12, a crime that prompted an outpouring of support from across the country.
Thursday's guilty plea is being welcomed by Stephanie Cooper, a friend and co-worker of Jones. She said it's reassuring to know Matheson is owning up to what happened.
"I do think about that night sometimes and it wasn't a fun experience for anyone," Cooper said. "But these things unfortunately happen and we’re all just doing our best to put it in the past and move forward."
During the attack, Jones was stabbed in the back and slashed in the throat. The injury to Jones's throat was superficial, but the stabbing severed his spinal cord, leaving him a paraplegic.
His attack led to an outpouring of support from friends and strangers across Canada. As he recovered from his injuries, Jones launched Don't Be Afraid, a campaign to combat homophobia.
"The support that he’s received he’s feeding off of," Cooper said. "And in turn, we’re all feeding off of his positive attitude. He’s really just an inspiring guy."
Police haven't called it a hate crime, but Jones and many of his friends say he was attacked because he is openly gay.
Outside the courtroom, Crown prosecutor Jody McNeill declined to comment on the facts of the case until they are presented in court.
He said he expects the "punishment is going to be strong," but wouldn't discuss what sentence the Crown is seeking.
Jones was not in court Thursday.
Matheson's sentencing is scheduled for June 12 at 9:30 a.m. AT.