Editor’s note: This story contains graphic details from the murder trial. Read at your own discretion.
One of the two other people stabbed on Sept. 15, 2018 by Tyler Sels testified in court on Wednesday the stabbing and killing of Charles St. Jean was unprovoked.
Marc-Andre Leduc, 23, gave a recorded testimony, as his health concerns prevented him from attending and testifying in person.
Assistant Crown attorneys Terry Waltenbury and Kaely Whillans are prosecuting. Superior Court Justice Dan Cornell is presiding.
Leduc gave an eye witness to the events that unfolded that night and ultimately led to St. Jean’s death at the hands of Sels, who has admitted to stabbing and killing him, but is claiming he did not intend on killing St. Jean.
Leduc said he and dozens of co-workers from Boston Pizza were at the home of a co-worker for a celebration of life. He told the court he arrived at the gathering at about 11 p.m. on Sept. 15.
When he got there, he saw Sels, accompanied by a neighbour of the gathering hosts. He was sitting in a chair in the living room, while the neighbour was in the kitchen.
Everyone was having a good time and socializing, Leduc said. Half an hour later, things started to get weird.
“As we were talking, the (neighbour) was very intoxicated, and she started to make comments about (the group’s friend) that were very inappropriate, and she was asked to leave,” Leduc said.
The neighbour became confrontational, he said, telling everyone she’s allowed to go where she wants. It took about 10 minutes to get her out of the apartment, but it was a semi-detached home, and she lived in the apartment immediately attached to the home. As she was leaving, she tried to take bottles of alcohol and other items from the house, said Leduc.
Leduc said he spoke to Sels when he arrived.
“I introduced myself (to Sels), but not the (neighbour),” he said.
He said he had a brief conversation with Sels, and they talked about music and music festivals.
“He was relaxed, sitting on a kitchen chair, and he looked sober,” Leduc said.
The atmosphere at the gathering went back to normal shortly after the neighbour left, he said.
Leduc and several others from the gathering went outside for a cigarette about 20 minutes after the neighbour left, he said. That group included St. Jean and Stephanie Martin, who also suffered a stab wound to her tricep in the incident.
They gathered on the deck outside the home, but the deck is shared between the two houses. At first, the group remained on the side of the deck directly outside their friend’s home, but as more people came out, they moved closer to the neighbour’s side of the deck.
“At this point, we were almost done smoking and that’s when (the neighbour) looked through her window and she tried to yell and pointed at me,” Leduc said. “She seemed very agitated, her arms were moving a lot, it looked like she was yelling.”
When Leduc and his friends were trying to make their way back into their friend’s apartment, the neighbour opened the door and put her arm on the balcony, blocking their way, he said.
“She was very agitated, very angry, very intoxicated,” he said. “At first, she put her hand on the rail to not allow us to go through. She told us to fucking leave, to get out of here, and we told her, it’s fine, we don’t want any issues, we only wanted to get by. She just kept telling us to leave.”
Leduc said the neighbour approached him, grabbed his toque and threw it.
“I looked at her, and told her, that’s my hat, what are you doing? I was annoyed,” he said. “She called me a fucking ugly kid.”
She also knocked off the hat of another person, “then she lunged at me,” he said.
Leduc said he put out his hands to block her from getting near his face. With his arms and hands straight out, he made contact with the neighbour.
“Her arms were out in front of her, she took a step, then lunged her upper body toward me,” he said.
When contact was made, she proceeded to lunge again, he said.
That’s when he said St. Jean stepped in front of him.
“Charles asked me to grab the drink out of his hands, a Red Bull, and I put the drink on the railing.”
St. Jean was also smoking, and had almost finished his cigarette. He wasn’t agitated at all, he was calm, and he was just making sure his friends were all OK, said Leduc.
He said St. Jean flicked the cigarette he was holding over the neighbour’s head.
“All of that was in an instant,” he said. “As he flicked the cigarette, that’s when the door of the main entrance and Mr. Sels was at the entrance of the door. Had a knife in his hand.”
Leduc said he heard a scream from Sels, within 15 seconds of him appearing in the doorway, and that’s when the stabbing began.
During his testimony, Leduc said he couldn’t recall who got stabbed first or second or third. He said when he got stabbed in the left forearm, he took a few steps back and down a few stairs of the deck.
“After I was stabbed, it happened very quickly,” Leduc said.
He said he saw Sels stab St. Jean three or four times. He would later find out that Martin also got stabbed. Her wound was in her left tricep.
Another person at the gathering was able to push Sels back inside the neighbour’s apartment, Leduc said.
The entire incident happened in less than two minutes, Leduc said.
As soon as Sels was forced back into the apartment, the group quickly realized St. Jean was badly injured.
“Steph laid him down on the deck, and I was holding his stomach as she was laying him down. All of his organs and intestines were protruding, and I was holding everything in. Steph started CPR, then tried mouth to mouth.”
Police showed up shortly after that, he said. Leduc was taken to hospital where he received three or four stitches to close the knife wound.
Defence lawyer Michael Puskas told Leduc point blank that he was going to insult him in his cross examination by suggesting that he embellished parts of his testimony, that he made up parts of it, and that he lied in his attempt to see justice served in the death of his friend.
Puskas questioned whether Leduc had witnessed a fight between the neighbour and Martin, or if St. Jean had pushed Sels back inside the house.
Leduc simply answered, “no, I did not.”
Puskas said other witness accounts allege a fight that resulted in pushing, shoving and hair pulling.
“There’s just no way there can be that much discrepancy,” Puskas said. “You’re making that up, aren’t you.”
“No,” Leduc said.
“When 10 people are saying one thing, and you’re saying another, isn’t it possible you’re wrong,” Puskas continued.
“I’m just telling you what I saw,” said Leduc. “That’s how it happened.”
Puskas also questioned Leduc’s recollection of who got stabbed in what order. At first, Leduc told the court he was the first one to be stabbed, but then later said he didn’t really remember who was first stabbed.
“You’ll agree with me that the evidence you gave today as to the order of who got stabbed in which order differs from what you told us in the preliminary report,” said Puskas.
“Everything I am saying is the truth, but I don’t recall the order of who was stabbed first, second or third,” Leduc said.