British Columbia

Yosef Gopaul in court over slaying of B.C. hockey mom Julie Paskall

Yosef Gopaul, the 27-year-old man charged in the slaying of Surrey hockey mom Julie Paskall, made a brief first court appearance Monday.

Woman died after being brutally assaulted Dec. 29 outside a Surrey hockey arena

A look at criminal record of suspect in Julie Paskall's killing 2:07

Yosef Gopaul, the 27-year-old man charged in the slaying of Surrey, B.C., hockey mom Julie Paskall, made his first court appearance Monday.

Gopaul moved to B.C. from Ontario about eight weeks before the slaying and is now facing a second-degree murder charge in the brutal December 2013 attack outside a hockey arena.

Hockey mom Julie Paskall, 53, was brutally beaten in Surrey's Newton Arena parking lot while waiting for her son in December. (Family photo)

During Monday's brief court session, Gopaul was led into the prisoner's box with his hands cuffed behind him. Wearing a blue fleece sweater, zipped up to the neck, Gopaul said just one word — his last name — when asked to introduce himself to the court.

He will remain in custody until his next court date, which was set for June 13 at 9.30 a.m.

Gopaul's lawyer, Simon Buck, said he is still getting up to speed on the details of the case.

"At that time we'll see where we stand," he said. "We're going to be receiving disclosure from the Crown. We'll be reviewing it, speaking to my client and making decisions as we go along."

Gopaul was arrested in Surrey at 3:15 p.m. PT Friday afternoon.

"I personally met with and spoke with Julie's husband, Al, yesterday and let him know of this development," Supt. Kevin Hackett said at a news conference Saturday. "We must now prepare for the court process."

Paskall was assaulted in the parking lot of the Newton Arena while waiting to pick up her teenage son, Cailean, who was refereeing a hockey game the night of Dec. 29, 2013.

She was taken to hospital where she was placed on life support, but she died days later, on New Year's Eve.

At the time, police described the attack as a robbery gone wrong. Hackett confirmed that Gopaul has a criminal record.

The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team's Supt. Kevin Hackett said Yosef Gopaul was identified as a potential suspect approximately one month after Julie Paskall's death. (CBC)

Police identified Gopaul as a potential suspect about a month after the attack, Hackett said.

At Saturday's press conference, Al Paskall expressed gratitude for the assistance everyone in the community has provided to the investigation, but said the family is still deeply hurting.

"We do truly appreciate that an individual has been charged with Julie's death," he said. "While this is very important, it does not bring her back. She is deeply missed, and this has been an extremely difficult time for our family."

Google Map: Newton Arena

With files from CBC's Jess Johnston