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Accused killer says he lied to police about location of murder weapon

Murder trial for Tyler Sels, 24, continues today in a Sudbury courtroom
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Sudbury Courthouse. (File)

Tyler Sels lied to police after he was arrested for the murder of Charles St. Jean in 2018, a Superior Court jury heard Thursday.

Cross-examination continued of the man who has admitted to stabbing and killing St. Jean on Sept. 15, 2018.

Sels, 24, told police in his statement following his arrest that he didn’t know where the knife he used to stab St. Jean was, who had it or what anyone did with it.

Then, during testimony in his trial, he told the jury he had at first put the knife behind a washing machine, then thought better of it and retrieved it. Then, Theresa Grasley took the knife from him and hid it somewhere in her couch. While she was doing that, he testified he went and hid under a bed, where he was later found by police.

Assistant Crown attorney Kaely Whillans continued to try and poke holes in Sels’ testimony on Thursday, attempting to point out inconsistencies in his testimony compared to what he told police after he was arrested.

“When you were first asked about the knife, you were adamant you did not know where it was,” Whillans said.

Sels had even told police to hook him up to a lie detector test and that it would prove he didn’t know where the knife was, she said.

Sels told the court he was informed by his lawyer not to say anything during the police interview, and that’s why he lied about not knowing the location of the knife.

He also testified this week that he was told by police officers during his arrest to stop talking, but in his statement to police, Sels said he had not spoken to any officers.

“You chose to lie instead of saying that?” Whillans questioned.

“Yes,” Sels said.

“And today, you are asking us to believe what you have said (in your testimony)?”

“Yes,” Sels said again.

Sels testified that he stabbed St. Jean in self-defence. He told the court that he was punched by St. Jean and another man, Marc-André Leduc, about a dozen times in total, although he doesn’t know whose punches connected when. Most of the punches landed on the top of his head, and on the side of his head, but his left arm was up covering him, while his right hand held the knife.

He said St. Jean was “swinging his entire body” to punch him. Leduc, he said, was throwing jabs at him, but couldn’t recall if any of those punches landed.

“I assume some did, just from the amount of times I got hit,” he said. 

A third person, Stephanie Martin, was also there with St. Jean and Leduc, but Sels could not recall if she had thrown any punches.

It was when St. Jean grabbed him that he stabbed St. Jean, Sels said.

“It all happened so fast,” he said.

After he grabbed the knife off a table near the doorway where he said he was being attacked, he yelled at them all to “back the f--k up,” which caused them to pause momentarily, but then they continued to attack him, Sels said.

“I was being attacked and trying to defend myself,” he said.

He started swinging the knife frantically, slashing and stabbing in an attempt to back them up again, yelling, “back the fuck up,” to get his point across.

Sels said he made four to five stabs and the same amount of slashes, but he had his head down.

“I was swinging the knife frantically — I was scared,” he said.

Sels said he made a stabbing motion toward St. Jean as he was being punched.

“He was swinging wildly, and I was stabbing frantically,” he said.

“(St. Jean) grabbed me and was pushing me, then I stabbed him. He went limp, and I pushed him back. I believe I stabbed him in the stomach, but I’m not sure.”

“When you did this, you knew you were stabbing him?” Whillans said.

“Yes,” Sels said.

“Your intention was to cause harm to his body?” Whillans said.

“I guess so, yes,” Sels said.

After he pushed St. Jean back, he closed the door and locked it.

“Was there blood on your hands?” Whillans said. 

“I can’t recall,” Sels said “I was in shock. I wasn’t worrying about blood on my hands.”

A swab of his hands following his arrest showed there was blood there, said Whillans. There was also blood on the heel of his shoe.

“I don’t know where that came from,” Sels said.

“I suggest after you stabbed Charles St. Jean, you followed him outside,” said Whillans, suggesting he did not in fact close the door right away.

“There was blood on the floor of the house, I might have stepped in it,” Sels said. “There was a substantial amount.”

The day ended early. A publication ban prevents anything that is talked about in the absence of the jury from being published.

The trial will continues Friday (Oct. 22) morning, and it’s “abundantly clear, for a number of reasons, that this trial will go into next week,” Superior Court Justice Dan Cornell told the jury.