Montreal

Teen accused of killing Darius Brown pleads guilty to manslaughter

The 18-year-old man who was originally charged with second-degree murder in the November 2016 death of Darius Brown has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge at the Montreal youth courthouse.

Both victim and killer were 17 at time of Brown's death exactly 1 year ago

Darius Brown is pictured here with his two sisters. (CBC)

The 18-year-old man charged in connection with the death of Darius Brown has pleaded guilty to manslaughter at the Montreal youth courthouse.

Brown was 17 when he was killed during an altercation in Côte Saint-Luc exactly one year ago, on Nov. 17, 2016.

The man who killed him was originally charged with second-degree murder in connection with Brown's death. He cannot be named because the case was before youth court, as he was also 17 at the time of the incident.

The man has been held in detention since his arrest last December.

Judge Lucie Godin accepted the teen's plea on Friday after the Crown and the defence entered an agreed statement of facts of what happened the night Brown died.

Brown's killer also pleaded guilty to possession of marijuana for the purpose of trafficking and to two charges related to breach of conditions related to a previous conviction: failing to keep the peace and possession of a weapon.

What happened the night Brown died

Initial police reports said Brown was involved in a robbery and fatally injured himself in a fall, a story that was later dismissed after interviews with witnesses and a review of surveillance video.

The witness whose account led police to the robbery theory was later charged with giving false statements and obstruction of justice.

After the agreed statement of facts was entered on Thursday, the court heard how Brown and a friend joined the man and his girlfriend on the 162 bus.

The four got off about 10 minutes later and went to an apartment building on Westover Road, where the man was to sell marijuana to Brown.

Video surveillance from the lobby of that building shows an interaction between Brown, his friend and the man.

Reading from the agreed statement of facts, Crown prosecutor Mélanie Rose told the court Brown asked to see the man's ring and then refused to give it back. Brown then asked for his watch.

A scuffle then broke out between the two as they moved toward the exit, and that's when the man's girlfriend intervened.

Brown then tried to take the man's girlfriend's phone.

"The accused took out a knife and stabbed Darius Brown in the upper neck at the base of the skull, inflicting the fatal wound," Rose told the court.

The girlfriend hit Brown in the face after he fell to the ground.

'He was cut by a knife'

The 911 call made by the man and his girlfriend was also played for the court.

In the frantic call, the man is heard asking for an ambulance.

"Someone is bleeding.... There was a fight, and he's bleeding.… He was cut by a knife."

"Who did that to him?" asks the 911 operator as she's heard trying to piece together the situation.

The girlfriend then grabs the phone and speaks to the 911 operator.

"He tried to rob me, and he fell off the stairs," she says. "He grabbed my phone and started grabbing the watch off my friend."

The girlfriend was charged last month with obstruction of justice for giving false statements to police.

As 911 tape played, Brown's mother wept

As the 911 call continues, the man is heard pleading, "Please, please. He's bleeding a lot."

On the recording, a voice is heard faintly in the background, moaning.

In the courtroom, hearing her son's moans, Brown's mother broke down in tears.

After the recording was played, the Crown described how the man who had stabbed Brown then left the scene and went home before police officers and an ambulance arrived. He threw away the knife on the way.

A subsequent search of the the man's house found the packaging for a spring-assisted folding knife with a three-inch blade.

Rose said the man was on probation at the time of the killing and had a previous conviction in youth court.

The killer did not speak during the hearing other than to acknowledge that he accepted the statement of facts and that he was agreeing to plead guilty to manslaughter.

With files from Elias Abboud

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