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'I feel sick to my stomach': Peter Khill, charged in death of Jon Styres, gets bail

Peter Khill is charged with second-degree murder after police say someone was trying to steal his pick up truck from his driveway.

Different emotions in court as accused gets bail and victim's supporters react

The Glanbrook home, just off of Highway 56, where police say Jon Styres was shot and killed. (Dave Ritchie/CBC)

The girlfriend and mother of two children by Jon Styres of Ohsweken says she's disappointed that the person charged with his death, Peter Khill, is out on bail.

Khill is charged with second-degree murder in the Feb. 4 shooting death of Styres. Police say the late-night shooting happened when someone came onto Khill's Hannon property and tried to steal a pick up truck.

Khill, 26, was granted bail at a hearing on Thursday. Afterward, Lindsay Hill said the whole hearing made her feel uneasy.

If they're saying they value a vehicle more than a person's life, then I just feel sorry that they don't know.- Lindsay Hill, girlfriend of Jon Styres

"I feel sick to my stomach, basically," said Hill, holding the seven-month-old daughter she shared with Styres.

But "this is just the start, so I'm just trying not to think about it too much."

Khill has been in jail since the shooting, which happened just after 3 a.m. Police say a man appeared to be stealing a truck from the driveway of Khill's home on Highway 56. They say Khill, a millwright and former reservist, was armed and confronted the man, who died on scene of "gunshot-related injuries."

Khill plans to plead not guilty by reason of self defence.

Justice Jane Milanetti released Khill on $100,000 bail — $50,000 from him, plus $25,000 each from two sureties. He will reside with his mother in Norfolk County and continue to work as a millwright. He will only be able to travel within Ontario for work. He also must surrender his passport, not possess any firearms and not contact any member of the Styres family.

As for Khill, he sat up straight in the courtroom prisoner box, occasionally drawing a deep breath. His dark hair was closely cropped. 

"He's very relieved" to have gotten bail, said his lawyer, Mike McArthur of Simcoe, after the hearing.

Trying to get back to normal

"He's kind of in a state of confusion like everyone does when they're in this sort of situation," he said. "I think it's a matter now of getting ready to let things decompress for now."

He's kind of in a state of confusion.- Mike McArthur, Peter Khill's lawyer

His focus now is "trying to return to some sort of semblance of normalcy," McArthur said. "That's certainly going to be his struggle right now."

About 35 people were in the courtroom for the decision, including about a dozen friends and relatives of Styres from the Six Nations community.

"He had a lot of friends he was close with," Hill said. "He had a lot of family support."

Styres, 29, was "really fun to be around," she said. "He was easy going. He was very loving, especially with his girls. He was so proud to be a father."

The incident has inspired numerous online petitions and Facebook groups, including petitions supporting Khill and calls to keep him in prison.

Internet comments have been 'cold'

Some of the comments, Hill said, have been "very cold."

"They're just treating Jon like he wasn't even a person," Hill said. "Yeah, he wasn't perfect, but nobody is."

"They don't know the facts of the case and it's very ignorant to support when you don't know. If they're saying they value a vehicle more than a person's life, then I just feel sorry that they don't know."

McArthur said Khill is "somewhat" aware of the online debate caused by the case.

But "overall, from his standpoint and really my standpoint, it can't really be a focus of ours," he said. "Our best job is done in court and that's where we're spending our time."

samantha.craggs@cbc.ca | @SamCraggsCBC

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