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Trial underway for son accused of killing, dismembering his mother in Leslieville

WARNING: This story contains graphic and disturbing details of violence.

The trial of a Toronto man who is accused of brutally stabbing his mother to death in their Leslieville condo and dismembering her body in March 2022 got underway this week.

On Monday, assistant Crown attorney Jay Spare told a Toronto jury that Dallas Ly stabbed his mother Tien Ly 27 times in their condo on Carlaw Avenue, before dismembering her body and carrying it in a shopping cart to Eastern Avenue, where Ly left her remains in bags on the sidewalk.

Toronto police were notified on March 28, 2022 after someone discovered a body in a black garbage bag, near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Berkshire Avenue, west of Leslie Street. Police previously said her body showed signs of trauma and some dismemberment. Investigators later identified the woman as Tien Ly, 46, of Toronto.

At the time, Ly, who was then 20, had gone missing but was not yet a suspect. He was arrested shortly after, on April 2, 2022. 

Ly has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder.   

Undated close-up shot of man.
Dallas Ly worked at the nail salon his mother owned near Yonge Street and Davenport Road. (Submitted by Toronto Police Service)

‘Hunting-style’ knife, gloves found at crime scene

Spare told the jury that the mother owned a nail salon at Yonge Street and Davenport Road, where she would go in to work everyday. Her son was employed at the same salon, where he worked reception and billing.

After working on March 27, 2022, Tien Ly went home, Spare said. When she arrived at about 8 p.m., she was stabbed to death. When Tien Ly failed to show up for work for two days at the salon where her cellphone was also left behind, her sister called police to report that she was missing.

Spare said police officers who were first on scene determined that the garbage bag contained a decapitated female body. A separate bag close by contained a head.

He said police will also testify that they found a bloody crime scene at her home, where a black backpack with a large “hunting-style” knife and gloves were found. A hammer was also found in the bathroom and seized for evidence.

He added that  forensic evidence will show the son’s DNA inside one of the gloves found at the crime scene, along with his fingerprints on the knife.

A crime scene on a street with caution tape surrounding it.
Police were notified on March 28, 2022 after someone discovered a body in a black garbage bag, near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Berkshire Avenue, west of Leslie Street. The Crown said police found the decapitated body of a woman in a black bag. A nearby bag contained a head. (Jessica Ng/CBC)

‘Gruesome death, feeble attempt to conceal it’: Defence

Defense attorney Marco Sciarra told the jury that Ly will testify that for “practically his entire life” his mother was physically, psychologically and emotionally abusive.

“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,” Sciarra said in court Monday.

“You will see the scars of her weapon of choice, a traditional East Asian bamboo back scratcher with a sharpened end, used to inflict small wounds all over his back.”

On the night of the stabbing, Ly will testify his mother became enraged when he told her he was leaving their home, Sciarra told court. 

“Mr. Ly saw red and killed his own mother in that first and only attempt to leave his abusive home,” he said.

A forensic psychiatrist will testify that Ly was a victim of child abuse and had developed symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

The trial was unexpectedly adjourned Tuesday and is set to resume on Wednesday. 

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