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Mother’s decapitated body found in garbage bag, Toronto murder trial hears

Warning: This story contains disturbing content.

Two years after a Leslieville mother was found dead, her decapitated body discovered in a garbage bag on Eastern Avenue and a separate bag located containing her head a short distance away, her son is now standing trial for second-degree murder.

Dallas Ly sat quietly in a downtown Toronto courtroom Monday as assistant Crown attorney Jay Spare told the jury that it is an admitted fact that Ly stabbed Thanh “Tien” Ly and caused her death.

Spare told the jury that Tien owned a nail salon at Yonge Street and Davenport Road, where her son, Dallas, also worked doing reception and billing. An employee from the nail salon is expected to testify that when he arrived at work on March 28, 2022, no one was there, but saw that Tien had left her cellphone behind.

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On that same afternoon, the Crown said a woman walking eastbound along Eastern near Berkshire Avenue, on her way to get groceries at Freshco near Leslie Street and Lake Shore Boulevard, observed an overturned grocery cart along with garbage bags. After returning from the grocery store, the woman noticed the grocery cart was gone and that the gap between the grocery bags had opened slightly and observed what she described as legs from the mid-thigh to the mid-shin. She called 911 upon returning home at 1:31 pm.

The Crown said it believes after working on Sunday, March 27, 2022, Tien went home, and when she arrived at about 8 pm, she was stabbed to death. A pathologist will testify that Tien suffered 27 stabs and cuts. Her cause of death, multiple stab sounds to the neck and chest.

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The Crown told the jury they will be calling Tien’s sister who is expected to testify she called 911 on March 29th, after the nail salon employee contacted her for the second straight day and told her that, Tien had not shown up.

A police officer is expected to tell the jury that he attended 319 Carlaw Ave. Unit 906 for a wellness check just after midnight on March 30. He knocked on the door but no one answered. It was unlocked so the officer entered the unit and observed what appeared to be blood and signs of cleanup.

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Forensic identification officers are expected to say that along with blood splatter and cleaned up blood, they found a black coat in a garbage bag with cut marks and blood staining on it. They also seized a black backpack with a large hunting-style knife, a pair of work gloves with a cut on the left finger and a hammer. Swabs from those three items contained blood.

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A forensic scientist is expected to testify DNA analysis of the blood found that Tien Ly could not be excluded as the source. Surveillance video is also expected to be shown to the jury from the Carlaw Avenue condo. Dallas’ DNA could not be excluded as the source from inside the glove.

The jury has heard friends of Dallas are expected to testify about the poor relationship between he and his mother, including the fact that Tien was unkind to her son and was physically abusive over the years. One friend will also explain that while having dinner with Dallas on March 26, Dallas became upset after learning he had to work the next day.

Dallas Ly was arrested on April 2, two days after a case manager at the Salvation Army in Hamilton said he met with Dallas Ly who identified himself as Yune Yi, a refugee claimant from China. He told the worker he had left five days earlier and his ID had been confiscated at the airport.

Defence lawyer Marco Sciarra told the jury while it’s not customary for defence counsel to provide an opening statement, on behalf of Dallas Ly, it was decided that it was important for the jury to have an understanding of what this case was about now, before they hear any evidence.

“Before Mr. Ly has the opportunity to testify, you will hear evidence of a gruesome death, a feeble attempt to conceal it, and a bad decision to try to run away,” said Sciarra.

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Sciarra told the jury that this case is really about things that happen behind closed doors. He said Dallas is expected to testify that his mother was physically, psychologically and emotionally abusive for practically his entire life.

The defence said it’s anticipated Dallas will say his mother told him it would be disgraceful to tell others that he had to be physically disciplined or show them his bruises and scars because it was evidence that he was a bad child.

Sciarra said the jury will see scars from a traditional East Asian bamboo back scratcher with a sharpened end used to inflect small wounds all over his back.

Sciarra also told the jury that Dallas will testify that he was told by his mother he would amount to nothing more than a homeless person living on Yonge Street who would bring shame upon her. The jury is also expected to hear that his mother’s behaviour would change when her own mother was around. She also would not say bad things about Dallas in front of others.

Sciarra said the jury will hear Dallas’ mother told him that his father was dead. He only discovered his father was alive after his arrest.

“You will hear that on the day of the incident, he finally listened to himself, packed his belongings, and decided he would tell his mother he was going to leave. You will hear that the idea enraged his mother, it quickly escalated to comments such as ‘I’m going to kill you’ and ‘If you die, I will not come to your grave.’”

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Sciarra said that Ly is expected to testify that he “saw red” and killed his own mother in that first and only attempt to leave his abusive home.

The defence said that Ly went into a period of denial after killing his mother and after reality set in, went into panic mode. “He tried to clean up, he tried to run, but quickly realized that he didn’t have will or fortitude for either, so he returned to Toronto to face the consequences for what he had done.”

A forensic psychiatrist is also expected to testify for the defence that based on his opinion, Ly, as a victim of child abuse, developed symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.

The defence urged jurors to listen closely to the judge’s instruction regarding the elements of murder, manslaughter, on issues of intent and any available defences to consider after hearing all of the evidence.

Dallas Ly has pleaded not guilty to second degree murder.

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