Manitoba

'I think I may have killed someone,' Kyllan Ellis told father in 2014

John Ellis told the court it felt like a 'sledgehammer to the gut' when two police officers told him his son, Kyllan Ellis, had been charged with second degree murder.

John Ellis testified at his son's 2nd-degree murder trial for the death of Simone Sanderson

Kyllan Ellis was caught on a surveillance camera on Magnus Avenue and Main Street on August 27, 2012. (Court exhibit)

John Ellis told the court it felt like a "sledgehammer to the gut" when two police officers told him his son, Kyllan Ellis, had been charged with second-degree murder.

The now 30-year-old was arrested on April 25, 2016 for the death of Simone Sanderson, whose body was found in an empty lot at Burrows Avenue and Main Street in 2012.

John Ellis testified Tuesday afternoon about a conversation he had with his son in his living room in Lorette in 2014.

"I asked him what was going on, he said 'I think I may have killed someone,'" said Ellis.

"That he was out one night and a girl got in his car…  she wanted him to drive to somewhere," Ellis recalled of the conversation. "She stole his keys and threatened him with a knife... and a pursuit happened and he tried to get his keys back."

Didn't want to hear more

He testified he then stuck his fingers in his ears so he wouldn't have to hear anything else. Ellis said he didn't find out who that woman was until his son was arrested.

He told the court he was interviewed by police for 10 hours, but was never under arrest. His wife, who he was separated from at the time, was arrested at the same time as their son.

Simone Sanderson was killed in Winnipeg at age 23. (Family photo)

Ellis said he initially held back on telling detectives about the conversation he had with his son out of fear he would be arrested and his younger son would have no one.

"Kyllan being the way he was ... whether it was 100% factual … a couple factors, I was reluctant," he said.

'You don't know if you are hearing reality'

Court heard for the first time that Kyllan Ellis is a diagnosed schizophrenic, who has been prescribed medication in the past, but his father said he had adverse reactions and didn't know if his son was taking anything.

"When he gets schizophrenic you don't know if you are hearing reality or you are hearing craziness of the mind, let's put it that way," said Ellis.
Kyllan Ellis is charged with 2nd-degree murder in the death of Simone Sanderson. (CBC)

Sanderson was last seen on August 26, 2012 and her body was found seven days later, under a piece of cardboard in the empty lot.

Surveillance video caught Kyllan Ellis a block away on Magnus Avenue on August 27 at 1:30 a.m.

The pathologist who did Sanderson's autopsy said because of advanced decomposition, he could not determine her time of death.

On Tuesday, a forensic entomologist testified that it is her opinion Sanderson was dead by sunrise on August 27.

Entomologist can't determine specific time of death

Dr. Gail Anderson studied the maggots found on and around Sanderson's body to make that conclusion. She studied the insect's stage of development and temperature outside at the time to determine how long the maggots had been alive.

She told the court she cannot determine a specific time of death with her methodology, just that it's most likely flies laid their eggs on Sanderson's body on the morning of August 27.

He kind of just sloughed it off, didn't want to talk about it ... He got mad.- John Ellis

Sanderson's case remained unsolved until April 2016, when police released new information about her death.

John Ellis testified he felt concerned when he saw it on the news, remembering the 2014 conversation. He said he spoke to his estranged wife Carol Ellis about it and then spoke to Kyllan. 

"He kind of just sloughed it off, didn't want to talk about it," said Ellis. "He got mad ... It was almost like he thought it was Carol's fault this was all being dredged up." 

The jury has already heard a conversation between Kyllan and his mother police recorded through listening devices. In it she told him she knew what he did, which he denied.

Carol Ellis is scheduled to testify on Wednesday and is one of the Crown's last witnesses. 

'I think I may have killed someone,' Kyllan Ellis told father in 2014

5 years ago
Duration 1:27
John Ellis testified at his son's 2nd-degree murder trial for the death of Simone Sanderson

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