Calgary

Nicholas Rasberry guilty of manslaughter in Craig Kelloway's stabbing death

A Calgary judge found Nicholas Rasberry not guilty of second-degree murder but guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter in the stabbing death of neighbour Craig Kelloway.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

Nicholas Rasberry walks into the Calgary Courts Centre just before Justice Robert Hall found him guilty of manslaughter (Meghan Grant/CBC)

A Calgary judge found Nicholas Rasberry guilty of manslaughter in the 2013 stabbing death of his neighbour Craig Kelloway. 

The courtroom had to be moved to the largest one in the Calgary Courts Centre to accommodate approximately 200 people who showed up for the decision. 

Many in the crowd were Rasberry's friends and family, as many of the victim's loved ones were still back home in Nova Scotia. Kelloway had moved to the city six years before his death to be a teacher.

Rasberry was originally charged with second-degree murder, but the judge found he didn't have the intent to commit murder. Justice Robert Hall rejected a self-defence theory, which would have led to an acquittal. 

"Long before the stabs and slashes were complete, the victim would have been disabled and the continuation of the knife attacks quickly becomes excessive and unreasonable," he said.

Kelloway was stabbed 37 times with three knives. Rasberry broke all three in his attack.

Sentencing for a manslaughter conviction ranges greatly from a suspended sentence  — or no jail time — to a life sentence. 

The matter will be back in court on Nov. 6 to set a date for a sentencing hearing. Rasberry is allowed to remain out of custody pending his sentence with the condition he surrender his passport.

He looked as though he was fighting tears while he listened to the judge's verdict, but didn't have any comment as he left the courthouse.

The two met only hours before paramedics would find Kelloway dying on Rasberry's floor. The night had started out innocently, as the neighbours just lived just two doors apart in the southeast community of Auburn Bay. 

Rasberry and his wife met Kelloway and his girlfriend in their backyard and began drinking and barbecuing together on May 4, 2013. The festivities later took them from Kelloway's home to the Rasberrys.

But shortly after the women went to bed, something happened that caused Rasberry to kill Kelloway in a violent, gruesome way.

Calgary police take Nicholas Rasberry into custody after a fatal stabbing at a home in Auburn Bay in May 2013. (Tim Fitchett)

Evidence

Rasberry has never denied killing Kelloway.

In a 911 call played on the first day of trial, he says he did it because Kelloway threatened to sexually assault him.

This photo of Craig Kelloway, left, and Nicholas Rasberry, taken at 10:36 p.m. was entered into evidence at the trial. The 911 call Rasberry made, saying he had stabbed Kelloway multiple times, was placed at around 11:30 p.m. (Courtroom Exhibit)

"He tried to f--k me," he said to the operator. "I stabbed him everywhere."

It's the same story Rasberry told the homicide detective who first questioned him in the hours after the killing.

During the two-and-a-half hour video, Rasberry tearfully told Det. Trish Allen he didn't want Kelloway to die, but that he feared for his safety after being sexually threatened.

But throughout the interrogation, Allen tells Raspberry she believes he's skipping part of the story. 

"I think you're leaving out what started it," says Allen.

"I wish I knew," Rasberry responds.

"It doesn't make sense," Allen tells Rasberry. "You eviscerated him. His bowels were hanging out."

Hall said he was "skeptical" of Rasberry's version of events.

Rasberry was aware of weaknesses in his story, said Hall, but he didn't anger when Allen questioned him about those holes. Instead he calmly tried to convince her he was telling the truth. 

Nicholas Rasberry admitted to a police detective that he used three knives, breaking two and bending a third. (Court handout)

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