Nova Scotia

Witness testifies boy accused of murdering Chelsie Probert said 'I killed her'

A man who says he was present during the fatal attack on Chelsie Probert testified Monday he thought the 17-year-old boy accused of murdering her was "trying to put on an act" when he talked about robbing or scaring strangers that night.

Man says he thought the boy was just 'trying to put on an act' before fatal Dartmouth, N.S., attack

A man who testified Monday at the trial of the boy accused of murdering Chelsie Probert said the accused threatened others that night along the path where Probert was stabbed. (Jon Tattrie/CBC)

A man who says he was present during the fatal attack on Chelsie Probert testified Monday he thought the 17-year-old boy accused of murdering her was "trying to put on an act" when he talked about robbing or scaring strangers that night.

But the witness told Halifax youth court that after Probert brushed aside the boy, the accused attacked her on a Dartmouth, N.S., footpath while armed with a corkscrew and knife, and later said he'd killed her.

Probert was 18 when she died after being stabbed in Farrell Street Park on June 6, 2017.

The witness, a 20-year-old man, said he spent the evening hanging out with the accused, who is a youth and cannot be named. The CBC is also not naming the witness, as doing so could identify the youth.

The second-degree murder trial is in its second week in Halifax youth court, and is being heard by judge alone. The boy, who was 16 at the time he was charged, has pleaded not guilty.

'This just got real'

The witness said he and the accused each drank a shot or two of Fireball whisky before wandering around north-end Dartmouth. The accused talked several times about running out of the woods and "scaring people with knives" and also brought up robbery, the witness testified. 

He said the accused showed him a knife he got from his mother's kitchen and a corkscrew he carried with him that night.

The witness testified they set a fire in the woods using some Axe body spray and then spent some time lingering on the Farrell Street path.

That's where the accused approached a man, pulled out a knife and told him to hand over all his possessions.

When the witness saw the knife, he initially thought, "This just got real," he testified. But when the man said he didn't have anything and was permitted to leave, the witness thought it seemed the accused "was doing things just to put on an act."

The witness said each time, the youth let the person go without harm, and he believed his friend was not serious.

Chelsie Probert was found on a Dartmouth path on June 6, 2017, and was taken to hospital, where she later died from her injuries. (Facebook)

Probert was the third person the accused approached, the witness testified.

When the accused told her to hand over her belongings, Probert "didn't seem to be taking it seriously at all," the witness said.

"She basically had a smirk on her face and brushed past [the accused]."

The accused asked Probert where she was going, the witness said, and they turned to face each other. 

"It was almost like a standoff," he testified.

He said the accused confronted Probert for about 30 seconds, holding a knife in one hand and a corkscrew in the other.

"She must have been scared but she was really trying hard not to show it," the witness testified. "She was trying to be strong."

'Is this a joke?'

Probert asked the accused, "Is this a joke?" and about 10 seconds later, the witness said he saw the accused strike Probert in the side, and the two fell to the ground.

The witness said he started walking away, yelled at the accused to "get off her" and then started running. He said he was in "survival mode" and in retrospect wished he had tried harder to stop the altercation.

After running some distance, the witness turned back to look. He said he saw the accused was still on top of Probert, but he couldn't make out what was going on.

He did not see what happened after that, he testified.

'She's dead, I killed her'

But when the youth joined him a few minutes later, the witness said the accused had tears running down his face and repeated several times words to the effect of, "She's dead, I killed her."

The two then changed their clothes and went out to buy cigars and snacks, passing by the path afterward.

The witness is expected to face cross-examination on Tuesday.

With files from Shaina Luck

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