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Man on trial for machete murder at McDonald’s testifies angels, demons and spirits run world

The Sundre man who admitted to killing his co-worker with a machete testified that he hears constant whispers from demons. 

Solaimane Elbettah, 28, is on trial for first-degree murder in the death of Josh Burns, 19, who was killed on July 4, 2022. The two were working a night shift at the Sundre McDonald’s on Main Avenue. 

Elbettah is from Morocco and moved to Canada in 2018. He worked a number of fast food and delivery jobs before landing at the McDonald’s. 

Under questioning from defence lawyer Pawel Milczarek, Elbettah told Court of King’s Bench Justice Glen Poelman that he has “advanced knowledge” of angels, demons and spirits.

“Angels are the ones that help human kind … to keep god’s order flowing,” said Elbettah.

“Demons … are making problems.”

Then there is “whispering … a way to transmit ideas,” Elbettah said.

Milczarek will argue his client should be found not criminally responsible (NCR) by reason of mental disorder. He plans to argue his client did not understand that his actions were morally wrong at the time of the crime. 

If the judge finds Elbettah is not criminally responsible, he would be sent to a secure psychiatric facility instead of a prison. 

‘They got Josh’

Elbettah’s testimony was, at times, extremely confusing. 

He told Justice Poelman that the demons got to him through his co-workers, including Burns. 

Elbettah said he was hearing whispers from demons all the time, including the night of the killing.

“I’m a threat to them,” he told the judge.

“Unfortunately … they got Josh. I see it in the eyes of Josh.”

‘He was insulting me’

Court heard evidence on Monday that after he sliced the teen’s throat, Elbettah texted the McDonald’s manager.

“Sorry about everything,” he wrote. 

“He was insulting me and he was thinking he was better than me because he was white.”

Elbettah did not mention demons to his manager, the 911 operator or police in the hours after the homicide. 

Milczarek has three more witnesses to call, including the accused’s brother, a friend and a forensic psychiatrist.

Prosecutor Vince Pingitore has not yet cross-examined Elbettah.

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