Lukas Strasser-Hird murder trial hears of damning text messages, DNA evidence

Damning text messages sent by one of the men accused in the swarming, beating and stabbing death of 18-year-old Lukas Strasser-Hird were read aloud in court today.

Assmar Ryiad Shlah, Joch Simon Pouk, Jordan Lee Liao and Franz Cabrera on trial for 2nd-degree murder

Lukas Strasser-Hird died on Nov. 23, 2013, after he was assaulted outside a downtown bar. (Facebook)

Damning text messages sent by one of the men accused in the swarming, beating and stabbing death of 18-year-old Lukas Strasser-Hird were read aloud in court today. 

Assmar Ryiad Shlah, Joch Simon Pouk, Jordan Lee Liao and Franz Cabrera are all on trial for second-degree murder. 

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.

Const. Doug Kraan, a digital forensic data retrieval expert, introduced the text messages sent by Cabrera to Gervais at the trial on Monday.

Texts sent from Franz Cabrera to Nathan Gervais

  • 3:46 a.m.: "Bro I stabed (sic) someone for Asmar and he got arrested." 
  • 3:52 a.m.: "yeah, I think I killed him, I'm hiding in an alley"
  • 4:09 a.m.: "Yeah man, I duno what to do."

The final witness on Monday was DNA expert Jason Solinsky who testified that Strasser-Hird's DNA — some of which was blood — was found on three of the accused's clothing items.

Strasser-Hird's DNA was found on Cabrera's jacket, Shlah's shoes and one of Pouk's shoes.

Family, accused come face-to-face

Meanwhile, Strasser-Hird's father says that five weeks into the murder trial, he's nervous about the case.

Tensions have been high inside and outside of the courtroom as three of the four men on trial for Strasser-Hird's murder are not in custody and often end up in common areas with the family of the victim.

The assault that took the life of Lukas Strasser-Hird, 18, happened in the alley behind 10th Avenue at Second Street S.W. (CBC)

"They're pretty much mocking our family," said Strasser-Hird's father, Dale Hird.

"They're joking around and laughing like this is no big deal."

Dale Hird has had to sit through more than 80 witnesses who described the events leading up to his son's killing.

"It's been a really long month," said Hird. "It's grueling hearing this all over again."

911 calls released

Justice Glen Poelman also released two phone calls on Monday made to 911 as Strasser-Hird lay in the alley behind the Vinyl Night Club after being attacked by a mob.

"I'm sitting here with a man that might have been stabbed," said Natalie Henderson. "I've got my hand on his wound.... I was just walking past."

Dale Hird says sitting through the murder trial for those accused of killing his son has been "gruelling." (Meghan Grant/CBC)

"It's going to be OK, dude, it's going to be OK."

Before police and paramedics arrived, bystanders tried to help on the critically injured teen and, in 911 calls, the mob can still be heard in the background, harassing them.

"There's about 20 people who jumped him and stabbed him," said Bryce Sunberg. "They're still threatening him right now; we need the police."

A Calgary judge has released two 911 calls used as evidence earlier in the Lukas Strasser-Hird murder trial.
A Calgary judge has released two 911 calls used as evidence earlier in the Lukas Strasser-Hird murder trial.

Racist slurs condemned by Strasser-Hird

Court has heard evidence that Assmar Ryiad 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.

'He was begging for mercy and they destroyed him'

Strasser-Hird tried to flee but was hit and knocked down and kicked repeatedly in the body, face and head.

He was taken by ambulance to Foothills Hospital and pronounced dead hours later, around 9:55 a.m.

Prosecutors Ken McCaffery, Marlo MacGregor and Samina Dhalla have called more than 100 witnesses.

The final witness for the prosecution — the medical examiner — will be called on Tuesday. It's not yet known if any of the defence lawyers Balfour Der, David Chow, Gavin Wolch or Ryan Claxton will call any evidence.

"It's obvious what happened, my son didn't fall on a knife, he didn't beat himself to death," said Hird.

"It's a horror story going on in there ... he was begging for mercy and they destroyed him."