Man accused of murder at First Nations student deaths inquest in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Two people testified they heard Stephen Cole confess to killing Jordan Wabasse in 2011
A man was accused of murder Wednesday at the inquest into the deaths of seven First Nations students in Thunder Bay, Ont., but the man denied the allegations when he was called to testify.
The inquest is examining the deaths of seven young people who came to Thunder Bay from their remote First Nations to attend high school.
Jordan Wabasse was last seen getting off a transit bus near his boarding home around 10 p.m. on February 7, 2011. His body was found on May 10, 2011, more than two kilomentres away in the Kaministiquia River near the James Street bridge.
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At the inquest, Riley Freeman told jurors that in February of 2011 he was standing outside the movie theatre having a cigarette with his best friend, Stephen Cole.
Freeman testified that's when Cole said he had pushed Wabasse off a bridge.
"I was extremely shocked," said Freeman who was in his early teens at the time. "I was really young and I knew that was wrong."
Freeman said he didn't tell police about the conversation even after he heard Wabasse was missing because he was scared.
Kirk Jedyk also testified that his half-brother, Cole confessed to him about killing Wabasse.
"He told me he killed a kid and pushed him off the bridge for a bag of weed, Jedyk said.
'I'm not a rat'
Coroner's counsel asked Jedyk why he didn't tell police about the conversation with Cole.
"I'm not a rat," Jedyk replied.
The jury was dismissed when Cole first took the stand. The 21-year-old was advised by coroner's counsel that he had a right to a lawyer, which Cole declined.
The jury then returned to their seats to hear Cole questioned about the statements Freeman and Jedyk said he made.
"Do you think I would be walking around telling all these people this — it woudn't be a very smart thing to do," he said.
Cole denied ever knowing Jordan Wabasse.
"I didn't even hear his name until police started harassing me about this," he said.
Under the Coroner's Act, none of Cole's testimony from the inquest can ever be used in a criminal court of law.
Testimony about Jordan Wabasse's death continues at the inquest on Thursday.
Watch live streaming video from the First Nation student deaths inquest here.
Follow CBC Thunder Bay reporter Jody Porter as she tweets from the inquest.