Manitoba

Video showing fight between Winnipeg Transit driver, passenger shown at 2nd-degree murder trial

Videos recorded inside two buses the night Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser was stabbed to death shows what happened in the minutes leading up to and immediately following the fatal encounter.

Irvine Jubal Fraser died from 6 knife wounds, forensic pathologist testifies

A still image taken from a video of the confrontation between Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser, left, and Brian Kyle Thomas. (Court exhibit)

Videos recorded inside two buses the night Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser was stabbed to death show what happened in the minutes leading up to, and immediately following, the fatal encounter.

The videos were shown to the jury on Tuesday, the second day of Brian Kyle Thomas's second-degree murder trial in connection with Fraser's 2017 death.

Thomas, 24, has pleaded not guilty to the charge.

Fraser died after he was stabbed multiple times in the early morning hours of Feb. 14, 2017.

The unedited video from inside Fraser's bus shown to the jury Tuesday begins around 1:14 a.m. on that day, when Thomas, then 22, can be seen getting on the bus at a stop downtown.

After Thomas gets on, another person standing outside the bus can be heard saying to Fraser, "Hey guy, that guy's drunk. Can you at least give him a ride?"

Watch the scene inside the bus:

Video footage shows the confrontation between Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser and Brian Kyle Thomas which ultimately ended in Fraser's death. 0:57

Thomas waves the other person off and goes to sit near the back of the bus, and the video continues for more than 30 minutes as the transit vehicle follows its route toward the University of Manitoba.

Fraser's shoulder is visible in the lower portion of the screen, driving calmly and silently. Only the sound of the motor and the stop announcements can be heard.

Fight caught on video

When the bus arrives at its last stop around 1:50 a.m., Fraser shouts, "Last stop! Hey, last stop."

Thomas approaches the front of the bus and asks where his friend is. Fraser tells him he got off at another stop. Thomas then asks if he can be dropped off at another stop, but Fraser refuses. 

"I'm out of service. You've gotta go. Off the bus please," Fraser says.

Thomas refuses to leave, saying he's in the middle of nowhere on a cold February night, and he thinks someone is following him. 

"There's nobody following you. There's nobody on the bus," Fraser says. 

Thomas continues pleading with Fraser to take him somewhere else, maybe to a payphone or a Tim Hortons. Fraser yells at Thomas again and then grabs his collar and shoulder and pushes Thomas off the bus. 

Video from a camera inside the bus shows Fraser, right, grabbing Thomas before pushing him off the vehicle. Video from another bus showed some of what happened outside, but that was not released to media Tuesday. (Court exhibit)

Thomas, now off the bus, starts throwing punches and swearing at Fraser, who is standing in the doorway. After Thomas appears to spit at Fraser, he gets off the bus.

Video from a second bus that pulled up behind Fraser's shows the two men fighting in the snow. The other driver runs over to intervene, and Fraser and Thomas pull apart.

Fraser stumbles towards his bus and moves out of view, as Thomas walks away, heading towards the second bus.

6 stab wounds

After the video was played, the jury heard from Dr. Charles Littman, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy on Fraser.

Littman said the 58-year-old man stood 6-2 and weighed about 240 pounds. "He was a big man," Littman said.

He also described Fraser's injuries, which included six stab wounds, including one that severed his jugular vein and punctured his trachea, which allowed blood to flow into his lungs.

Fraser, 58, died Feb. 14, 2017, after he was attacked while finishing his route on the University of Manitoba campus. (Facebook)

A stab wound to his chest also collapsed Fraser's left lung. 

"You wouldn't live long untreated with these injuries," Littman said. 

Crown attorney Paul Girdlestone showed Littman the silver kitchen knife that investigators recovered from the scene and asked him if he thought it could have caused Fraser's wounds. Littman said yes. 

Officer's testimony questioned

Thomas's defence began the day by questioning the reliability of evidence presented the previous day by the Winnipeg police officer who photographed the scene.

On Monday, Patrol Sgt. Brian Neumann told jury members the Winnipeg Police Service's major crimes unit called him on April 17, 2017, and told him investigators had found a knife on the east bank of the Red River, across from the University of Manitoba, near where they had arrested Thomas on Feb. 14.

Thomas's lawyer, Evan Roitenberg, questioned whether Neumann could reliably say that the knife had been found in the spot where he had photographed it, because the officer who found it did not take a precise GPS location.

This witness can't tell us where the knife was found. He can tell us where he came and photographed the knife.-  Evan  Roitenberg , defence lawyer

"This witness can't tell us where the knife was found. He can tell us where he came and photographed the knife," Roitenberg said.

Neumann replied that although he hadn't found the knife himself, it was in the same place where the other officers had found it, and that he had documented that in his notes.

Question on knife's precise location

Crown attorney Keith Eyrikson objected when Roitenberg asked Neumann whether it would have helped the jury if the officer who first found the knife had made note of its precise GPS location. Neumann's opinion of what would help the jury was not relevant, he said.

When Roitenberg asked if the dirt that was on the knife had been sent for testing to determine how long it had been there, Neumann said he didn't know.

The jury was briefly cleared from the room while the Crown and defence consulted with Court of Queen's Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.

Stains photographed on snow

Roitenberg asked Neumann about photos he'd taken in the same area during a search of the east bank the following day.

Neumann had photographed stains on the snow, which he said appeared to be blood. Roitenberg pointed out that the snow was not pristine, that someone had clearly walked through the area.

A pair of scissors were also recovered from the scene the day of Fraser's death, but Neumann's photo only showed the outline of scissors in snow.

"Do you or do you not recall whether or not the scissors came into the possession of the Winnipeg Police Service," Roitenberg asked.

"I do not," Newman replied, adding that it would be best to ask the officer who collected the evidence from the scene.

Crown attorney Girdlestone asked Littman, the pathologist, whether Fraser's injuries could have been caused by scissors. Littman replied that scissors could not have caused those wounds. 

Roitenberg also gave jury members copies of the photos Neumann had taken of injuries Thomas had suffered on the day of his arrest, including close-ups of Thomas's bloody right ear, and scrapes and bruises on his face and body.

Thomas's trial before a 12-member jury is being overseen by Justice Joyal.

The trial continues Wednesday.

Corrections

  • An earlier version of this story identified Paul Girdlestone as a defence lawyer. In fact, he is a Crown lawyer.
    Jan 23, 2019 11:35 AM CT

About the Author

Cameron MacLean

Web Writer

Cameron MacLean is a journalist living in Winnipeg, Man. where he was born and raised. He has more than a decade of experience covering news in the city and across the province, working in print, radio, television and online.