Accused said he 'ended up choking' woman, Kyllan Ellis's mother testifies at 2nd-degree murder trial

Carol Ellis told the court her son, Kyllan Ellis, called her at 2 or 3 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2012, asking for a ride from the area of Main Street and Redwood Avenue.

Carol Ellis testified Wednesday at the trial of her son, accused of 2012 killing of Simone Sanderson

Kyllan Ellis is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Simone Sanderson. (CBC)

Carol Ellis told a Winnipeg courtroom on Wednesday that her son, Kyllan, said he choked a girl after she picked him up from the area around Main Street and Redwood Avenue at around 2 or 3 a.m. on Aug. 27, 2012.

Kyllan Ellis is on trial in Manitoba's Court of Queen's Bench, where he has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the death of Simone Sanderson.

The 23-year-old's body was found under a piece of cardboard on Sept. 2, 2012, in an empty lot at the corner of Burrows Avenue and Main Street, just south of the Redwood and Main area. She was last seen on Aug. 26.

"He told me that he picked up a girl.… She identified herself as a prostitute, she said they could go to a place she knew of to have some fun," Carol Ellis testified at the jury trial on Wednesday.

She said her son called her for a ride because he had lost his keys and needed to go to his dad's house in Lorette, Man., just southeast of Winnipeg, to get his spare set. 

She told the court the conversation happened in her car on the way back to Winnipeg. Ellis said her son told her the girl stole his keys and threw them.

The body of 23-year-old Simone Sanderson was found under a piece of cardboard on Sept. 2, 2012 in an empty lot at the corner of Burrows Avenue and Main Street in Winnipeg. She was last seen on Aug. 26. (Family photo)

"This is where it's all jumbled for me. I just got bits and pieces of this night. He was jumped by a male, some sort of struggle ensued, the male took off, he got into some sort of struggle with her," she testified.

"He ended up choking her, he said."

Ellis testified she thinks her son told her the woman had a "small knife."

Court previously heard a knife, which contained Sanderson's DNA, was found near her body. The pathologist who conducted the autopsy testified earlier in Ellis's trial that he found cuts on both of Sanderson's palms, which he called defensive wounds.

During cross-examination, Kyllan Ellis's lawyer, Mike Cook, asked the mother if her son mentioned the name Simone Sanderson, and whether he told her the girl's ethnicity. Carol Ellis replied no to both questions.

Sanderson was Indigenous.

'He ended up choking her' Kyllan Ellis' mother testifies

5 years ago
Duration 1:50
Carol Ellis testified her son, Kyllan, told her he choked a girl after she picked him up from the Redwood and Main area on August 27, 2012.

"Kyllan never said to you that he killed a woman that night, did he?" Cook asked Ellis.

"No, he didn't," she replied.

Ellis testified that she immediately told her son to go to police.

"He wasn't taking anything in that night.… That wasn't an option that night."

She said over time she began to doubt what he told her because he has schizophrenia. She testified that he has had hallucinations in the past.

It was revealed in court that an anonymous Crime Stoppers tip police received about Kyllan in 2014 was made by his mother's former boyfriend, with whom she was living at the time.

The jury heard that after they broke up, the man went back to police and told them more of what Ellis had told him during their relationship.

Court heard she also confided in a friend and hospital staff. 

"I was just sick with the information I had. I just needed to talk to somebody," she said. "It was bothering me."

The Crown closed its case after five days of testimony, hearing from 12 witnesses.

Cook told the court he is not calling any witnesses and his client isn't testifying.

The jury will return to court on Monday. Justice Chris Martin could give his instructions to the jury to begin deliberations as soon as Tuesday.


Jillian Taylor

CBC Reporter

Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been working as a journalist for nearly 15 years. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor