Lukas Strasser-Hird trial hears from accused killer who admits to attacking victim
Four people are charged with 2nd-degree murder in the swarming and stabbing death of Strasser-Hird
One of the young men accused in the swarming death of Lukas Strasser-Hird testified in his own defence today, telling the jury that while he did beat up the victim, he did not cause his death.
Joch Simon Pouk is charged with second-degree murder alongside Assmar Ryiad Shlah, Jordan Lee Liao and Franz Cabrera.
"I fought Lukas," said Pouk as he took the stand. "I used my hands. I used my feet. I kicked him while he was on the ground.
"I didn't stab him. I didn't see anybody with a weapon," Pouk said.
"I want to make sure the jury understands and the family understands that I am not running away from my responsibility."
'My mind didn't register to what my body was doing'
Pouk told the jury that he believed Strasser-Hird "sucker-punched" Shlah, so he went after the victim and the two exchanged punches.
At one point, Pouk said he had Strasser-Hird backed into the alley and was holding his head while kneeing the teen in the face before throwing him on the ground.
It was at that point others joined in the attack on Strasser-Hird.
Pouk testified that he kicked the victim in the stomach up to four times but was then pulled out of the swarm of attackers.
"My mind didn't register to what my body was doing at the time," said Pouk.
"I thought this was a bar brawl. I didn't know this was 20 people on one guy," he said.
"That's when I said 'I'm not going to be a part of this.'"
Racist slurs condemned by victim
A fifth man accused, Nathan Paul Gervais, was charged with first-degree murder — but he disappeared weeks before the trial began while on bail and remains at large.
Earlier in the trial, a DNA expert testified that Strasser-Hird's DNA was found on three of the accused's clothing items — Cabrera's jacket, Shlah's shoes and one of Pouk's shoes.
Court has heard evidence that Shlah became upset when he couldn't get his jacket, as the night at Vinyl nightclub was winding down.
One witness who was at the club the night of the attack described hearing Shlah call a bouncer a "dirty spic."
The initial confrontation occurred when Strasser-Hird — who had just returned from a year abroad in South America — told the person identified as Shlah there was "no need to be racist."
Strasser-Hird was then escorted back into bar for his own safety, the court heard, and he and his friends were later ushered out the back door into an alley.
But Shlah's group was waiting for them in the alley, Crown prosecutor Marlo MacGregor told the jury in her opening statement.
The prosecution presented about 80 witnesses to the jury.
This morning, Franz Cabrera's lawyer, Gavin Wolch, elected not to call any evidence.
It is not yet known if the other two accused — Shlah or Liao — will testify in their own defence.
The trial continues Wednesday.