Jared Eliasson found guilty of aggravated assault in crowbar attack on woman

A man who broke an Edmonton woman's arms with a crowbar in an early-morning road-rage attack has been found guilty of aggravated assault.

Newspaper carrier attacked driver with crowbar, leaving her with broken arms

Jared Eliasson leaves the Edmonton courthouse after the third day of his attempted murder trial, accompanied by his lawyer, Zack Elias. (Janice Johnston/CBC )

A man who broke an Edmonton woman's arms with a crowbar in an early-morning road-rage attack has been found guilty of aggravated assault.

Court of Queen's Bench Justice Adam Germain delivered his decision on Friday. He also found the attacker, Jared Eliasson, guilty of possession of a dangerous weapon and mischief.

But Germain found Eliasson not guilty of attempted murder.

The judge said he was left with a reasonable doubt that Eliasson intended to kill his victim. He said he believed Eliasson got out of his car, motivated by road rage and armed with a crowbar, prepared to damage Schendzielorz's vehicle, not to assault her.

Around 7 a.m. on March 7, 2017, Chelsey Schendzielorz honked at a driver in a small silver car blocking an intersection in the King Edward Park neighbourhood of southeast Edmonton.

The encounter was captured on Schendzielorz's dash camera.

Schendzielorz travelled a couple of blocks to park in front of her house. As she sat chatting on the phone to her father, a silver car drove up beside her, then backed up and parked behind her vehicle.

She said the driver got out holding a crowbar and hit her twice, breaking both her arms.

Edmonton police say they have arrested the driver of this car who attacked a woman with a crowbar, breaking both of her arms. (Edmonton Police Service)

Eliasson, who was delivering newspapers at the time, admitted he was the driver in the vehicle that was honked at.

But in an interview recorded with police, he denied his involvement in the attack 17 times. The judge said Eliasson showed an "unnatural lack of sincerity that almost borders on the level of the absurd." 

At one point, Eliasson suggested Schendzielorz might have broken her own arms. 

Germain was sharply critical. 

"The entire statement, taken in context, reflects not an individual expressing innocence, but an individual taunting police that the evidence will fall short of what's needed to attain his conviction," the judge said. 

Germain called the circumstantial evidence against Eliasson "very strong."

Any suggestion Eliasson was not the person who assaulted Schendzielorz is "ludicrous," the judge said.

He also noted the inconsistencies in the various accounts given by the victim in describing her attacker, the clothes he wore and the weapon he wielded.

Germain called Schendzielorz a credible witness with unreliable testimony. 

"I'm not being critical of Ms. Schendzielorz," Germain said. "Eyewitness identification — particularly when under stress —is often unreliable. It's a weakness we all have."

Eliasson, who remains free on bail, is to be sentenced on July 2. He'll be on house arrest, living with his mother. He plans to begin school in May. Germain has ordered a pre-sentence report.

Chelsey Schendzielorz leaves court Friday with her family after her attacker was found guilty of aggravated assault. She has prepared a victim impact statement that will be read in court July 2. (Peter Evans/CBC)

About the Author

Janice Johnston is an award-winning journalist in Edmonton who has covered the courts and crime for more than two decades. You can reach her at janice.johnston@cbc.ca or on Twitter at @cbcjanjohnston