15-year-old guilty of 2nd-degree murder in teen's stabbing death, but 'no clear answers' on motive
Judge accepted 'dying declaration' evidence that victim, 17, identified accused in final moments
A 15-year-old boy has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the 2018 stabbing death of a 17-year-old in Winnipeg — but the judge who delivered the ruling says it's still unclear why the older teen was stabbed.
Provincial court Judge Julie Frederickson said Tuesday she was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that the 15-year-old, who was 13 at the time of the murder, stabbed the older teen on a sidewalk in the McPhillips Street underpass in 2018.
But Frederickson said despite a long and difficult trial, she was left with no explanation about why the young man's life was cut short.
"There [were], unfortunately, no clear answers as to why this tragic event occurred," she said.
"At the end of the day, all the court is left with is the undisputed evidence that [the victim] was stabbed three times to his chest."
Neither the 15-year-old nor the victim can be named due to publication bans under Canada's Youth Criminal Justice Act.
The 15-year-old pleaded not guilty in Winnipeg youth court in September, a year to the day after the 17-year-old died.
Crown prosecutor Melissa Carlson told court at the time the victim identified the accused as his killer in his last words, spoken to two police officers at the scene, when he emerged from the underpass wounded and looking for help shortly before 4 p.m. on Sept. 24, 2018.
Hearsay evidence from witnesses about what someone else said to them is usually barred from Canadian courts. But on Tuesday, Frederickson said she accepted the evidence as a "dying declaration," a centuries-old exception to the rule allowing witnesses to report other's last words.
The 15-year-old is represented by defence attorney Wendy Martin White.
'They did all that they could'
During the trial, court heard from Winnipeg police officers who worked on the investigation and five eyewitnesses, some of whom tried to help the victim after he was attacked.
Frederickson addressed those people in her comments Tuesday.
"I want them to know, having concluded the trial and hearing all of the evidence, that they did all that they could for [the victim]," she said. "Nothing that they did or didn't do would have changed the outcome."
Court heard the 17-year-old was stabbed after being pursued by the younger teen down the McPhillips Street underpass.
During the trial, court saw video evidence from the McPhillips Station Casino, a business on Jarvis Avenue and multiple Winnipeg Transit buses.
A date for sentencing has not yet been set, but it is expected to take place in April.