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Jury deliberations begin at trial for Toronto man accused of murdering, decapitating his mother

WARNING: The following story contains disturbing, graphic details. Readers are advised to use discretion. 

The fate of Dallas Ly, a 23-year-old Toronto man who admitted to killing his mother in the Leslieville condominium they shared, is now with the jury which was sequestered to begin deliberations on Tuesday.

In his final instructions to the jury, Superior Court Justice Brian O’Marra told six men and six women that to convict Dallas Ly of second-degree murder, the Crown must have proven beyond a reasonable doubt that Ly, who was 21 years old at the time, intended to kill his mother, Tien Ly, or ought to have known the bodily harm he caused was likely to cause her death and was reckless.

During the trial, Dallas took the stand in his defence admitting he killed his 50-year-old mother but stating he never meant to kill her. He testified around 8 pm on March 27, 2022, after his mother returned home from the nail salon she owned, he told her he was moving out and was going to stay with his aunt.

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He testified his mother paused, became very angry and started shouting in Vietnamese. He said his mother said he had to pay his aunt’s $25,000 in rent and she would kill both him and his aunt. He said he returned to his room while his mother kept yelling in Vietnamese, telling him to come back or she would beat him to death.

Dallas said he took a hunting knife out of its sheath and went to scare his mother with the knife. He asked her to move so he could leave but testified, she threatened him again and started punching him and striking him on his face. It’s then he said he “saw red” and began waving the knife before striking her in the neck.

A few hours later after reality sunk in about what happened, Dallas told the jury he thought about cutting her up into small pieces, starting with her head, but felt too sick after severing her head and didn’t do anymore. He put her remains in garbage bags and dragged them south, down Carlaw Avenue in a shopping buggy, before striking a curb on Eastern Avenue and abandoning his mother’s remains.

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The following day, a passerby made the gruesome discovery.

Click to play video: 'Closing arguments made in Dallas Ly murder trial'

Closing arguments made in Dallas Ly murder trial

An autopsy showed Tien Ly had been stabbed 27 times. The cause of death was multiple stab wounds to the neck and chest.

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Judge O’Marra told the jury they must consider Dallas’ credibility as a witness and the circumstances surrounding the homicide.

He instructed the jury to consider the Crown’s position that within two minutes of entering the apartment, Tien was lying on the floor.

The Crown argued that after killing his mother who abused him physically and mentally for years, Dallas told his friends that he felt free and could breathe. The Crown said that Dallas was not acting in self-defence because his response was not reasonable in the circumstances, Dallas was the aggressor and he had numerous other ways to de-escalate the situation. The Crown also said Dallas’s actions were not due to provocation — not enough to cause an ordinary person to lose control.

The Crown said Dallas was upset at having to work at the salon and was angry at his mother.

The defence argued that Dallas suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder at the time of his mother’s death, after severe abuse and neglect at the hands of his mother. After the homicide, his instinct was self-preservation. The attempts to hide what he did showed a lack of plan or clarity saying there was nothing in the evidence that established he intended to kill his mother.

Click to play video: 'Court hears conflicting testimony from psychiatrists in trial of Toronto man accused of murdering his mother'

Court hears conflicting testimony from psychiatrists in trial of Toronto man accused of murdering his mother

Summarizing the defence position, O’Marra told the jury the “history of abuse and neglect resulted in catastrophic consequences for his family. He suffered from symptoms of PTSD as a battered child, against his mother, perceiving the threats against him as real.”

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O’Marra told the jury if they believed beyond a reasonable doubt that Dallas did not have the state of mind for murder or that he was provoked and suddenly lost control because he was being assaulted and believed his mother’s words that she was going to kill him and his aunt, then he should be found not guilty of murder but instead guilty of manslaughter.

O’Marra said that if they found Dallas was acting in lawful self-defence, his use of force was proportionate to the perceived threat given all the circumstances, they should find him “not guilty”.

Around 4 p.m.Tuesday, the jury returned with a question for the judge asking if they could have a transcript of Dallas’ testimony since they had “conflicting memories of some of his statements.” O’Marra told the jury to rely on their collective memory of the evidence. “If there are areas of interest, we can review our collective notes and recount those areas of interest or alternatively, playbacks of the evidence can be arranged.”

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