Skip to content

Tyler Sels on trial for stabbing, killing Charles St. Jean in September 2018

Sels has admitted to stabbing St. Jean, but at question is whether he intended to kill him after stabbing him four times
Sudbury Courthouse. (File)

The murder trial for the man who admitted to stabbing and killing Charles St. Jean in the early morning hours of Sept. 15, 2018, is underway at Sudbury Courthouse.

Tyler Sels has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder, aggravated assault and assault with a weapon, but assistant Crown attorney Terry Waltenbury told the 14-member jury in his opening statement Sels has admitted to stabbing St. Jean, which ultimately led to his death. St. Jean was 27.

“It won’t be an issue that Tyler Sels inflicted these wounds; he, in fact, admits to doing so,” Waltenbury told the jury in his opening remarks. 

“What the issues will be is whether or not he intended to kill Charles St. Jean, and it’s the Crown’s position he did, and whether the knife wounds were justified, which the Crown says no. At the end of this case, we expect the evidence as such that you will return with a guilty verdict on all counts.”

The stabbing happened during a celebration of life outside a home on Levesque Street, off The Kingsway.

St. Jean was among a group of friends and family who were celebrating the life of a friend who had taken his own life. The celebration began Sept. 14, but carried into the early morning hours of Sept. 15, and that’s when St. Jean was stabbed and killed.

“This case involves the tragic and untimely death of Charles St. Jean,” said Waltenbury during his opening remarks to the jury.

The court heard St. Jean worked at a local restaurant at the time of his death. His friend, for whom the celebration was held, was a co-worker. 

At one point during the celebration, Sels and his friend, a woman who lived next door, joined in the celebration. However, the court heard the friend was intoxicated and started acting inappropriately. They were both asked to leave.

“Things returned to normal,” said Waltenbury.

At one point, while some of the people attending the celebration were in the backyard and on the back deck, the woman came out and started yelling at them. She started getting aggressive, said Waltenbury. Witnesses described her as very agitated, angry and intoxicated.

Court heard the woman lunged twice at one of St. Jean’s friends, who tried to stop her from advancing, 

“What happened next was quick and unexpected,” Waltenbury said. “Most witnesses only saw this in pieces. What is clear is Mr. Sels came out with a knife and stabbed three people, but who was stabbed in which order is not clear.”

Witnesses said they heard an angry scream when the stabbings began. Others said they thought St. Jean had been stabbed three or four times in the stomach.

Two other people at the party were stabbed. They are both scheduled to take the witness stand to testify. Stephanie Martin required 14 stitches to close her wound, while Marc-Andre Leduc also needed stitches.

St. Jean was stabbed four times, court heard. The knife used had a six-inch blade, and two of the stab wounds were six inches deep. He was stabbed once in the back, once in the left chest, once in the right chest, and once in the mid abdomen. That stab wound to his abdomen was so severe, St. Jean’s small bowel protruded from it, the court heard.

It was the stab to his left chest and his abdomen that proved fatal, and the cause of death was deemed to be multiple stab wounds and excessive loss of blood, said Waltenbury.

It was chaos after the stabbings started, said Waltenbury. St. Jean’s friends immediately tried to help him and called 911.

One of the people at the gathering called a relative, who was a former paramedic. That person rushed to the scene, but as he worked on St. Jean, he was already absent vital signs, court was told.

St. Jean was rushed to hospital, but ultimately nothing could be done, and he was pronounced dead at Health Sciences North, Waltenbury said.

When police arrived, they found Sels hiding under a bed in his friend’s home next door.

The suspected murder weapon was found three days later hidden inside the couch, although police had already searched that couch on the day of the stabbing. The knife had blood stains and the blade measured six inches long.

The trial is expected to take at least three weeks with 40 witnesses being called by the Crown, although that number may fluctuate as the trial unfolds, said Waltenbury.

The trial resumes Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. for the defence’s opening statement.