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‘I just wanted to see if the boy was OK’: Teen who witnessed deadly assault testifies at manslaughter trial

Four witnesses were called to testify during day two of a teen’s manslaughter trial.

The teen, SM who is now 17 years old, is one of seven youths charged in connection with the death of a 16-year-old in 2022.

The accused, victim, or name of the school close to where the incident happened cannot be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and a publication ban.

“I saw a boy walking across the street and another group of boys following behind him,” a young woman told the court on Wednesday.

CTV News Edmonton is not identifying the witness because she was a teen at the time.

She went on to say a boy jumped on the victim’s back.

“It looked like he was struggling to get him off,” she said.

She said he tried to walk away from the group of teens.

“Somehow he ended up on the ground,” she recalled. “Then I saw that they were hitting him, they were shooting some sort of airsoft bb guns at him and hitting him with a hockey stick.”

Crown prosecutor Jeff Rudiak asked the woman where the group was kicking the boy. “Everywhere. They were kicking him everywhere,” she said.

“Who was kicking?” asked Rudiak. “All of them,” she answered. When asked about who was punching the boy, the woman said: “There was one or two boys that did that.”

“Did you see the airsoft gun?” asked Rudiak.

“I could hear it,” she responded, leading Rudiak to ask, “How many shots were fired?”

“Approximately 20,” she said.

The woman said the boy somehow managed to get up and was trying to walk away from the group when an “older gentleman” started yelling at them.

“Just trying to scare them off, I think,” she told the court.

She said the group of teens walked past her and the boy who’d been attacked started “kind of stumbling.”

“It looked like he was going to go back for his bag that he left,” she told the court. “That’s when he fell where he was.”

The woman said she called 911 and told the operator she could see blood on the boy’s left side from what she believed was a stab wound.

“Then as we were waiting for the ambulance to show up his eyes rolled into the back of his head and his lips turned blue,” the woman said, crying.

“He stopped breathing and I was still on the phone with the 911 operator when this happened. They told us to start compressions. So the lady that was there, I told her to start doing compressions.”

Three Edmonton police officers, including a forensic photographer, also testified at the trial on Wednesday. Const. Matthew Faiazza was one of the first officers to arrive at the scene.

“I could see someone doing CPR on a male,” Faiazza told the court. He said he ran over and offered to take over.

“There was blood on his pants and a puncture wound on the left side of his chest,” Faiazza said.

He continued doing CPR until Edmonton Fire Rescue Services arrived.

“They stopped me and checked for a pulse. There was no pulse,” he said.

The boy was taken to hospital where he died from his injuries about a week later.

Const. David Castillo said when he arrived there was a large crowd and that someone pointed him in the direction of a gun on the ground.

“I observed what appeared to be a black handgun similar to what I carry as an Edmonton police officer,” Castillo said.

“I stepped on the firearm while still trying to conduct scene security,” he said. “I thought that it was real so that’s why I stepped on it.”

When Const. Castillo was able to safely inspect the firearm more closely he said he found a CO2 canister in the magazine.

“I thought it was a CO2 BBgun,” he said, adding it looked very realistic. “Without removing the magazine I would think it was almost similar to what we carry.”

During cross-examination, defence lawyer Brian Beresh’s questions for the officers focused on when they arrived, the crowds, and what was near the scene.

Beresh had more questions for the young woman.

“You know what happened to the boy that got hurt, very tragic,” Beresh said, telling her he just wanted to get to the truth of what happened.

He pointed out a discrepancy with the description she gave in court about what the boys were wearing compared to what she told police.

The woman didn’t recall seeing a knife or actually seeing the boy hit with the field hockey stick.

When asked if she could tell who did what, she said “no.”

“Things unfolded very quickly, like a flash?” Beresh asked. “Yes,” she said.

The trial continues on Thursday. 

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