“Chaos broke loose” at rally


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Neither of the two witnesses who testified in Tyler Sels’ ongoing murder trial on Monday saw him fatally stab Charles St. John.


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But Clayton Gunn and Alexi Kennedy had no trouble remembering the angry behavior of duplex neighbor Theresa Grasley, who was upset that bystanders were on her side of the bridge just before the knife incident.

The incident happened in the wee hours of September 15, 2018 on the shared patio of a Kingsway duplex where a celebration of the life of a recently deceased Boston Pizza worker was being held.

Grasley was told to leave the rally due to an inappropriate comment about the deceased employee, Gunn said.

About 15 to 20 minutes later, he and several others placed chairs that Grasley had brought near his door, then walked down the aisle to have a smoke.

Grasley, however, was in a bad mood, he said.

“I was in front of the picture window (of the Grasley unit) and a door opened behind us,” he recalls. “We couldn’t go down the stairs (to the driveway). The lady stole out the door and yelled at us.

Gunn said Grasley made “mean” comments to the group, including that they were “a bunch of ugly kids” and ordered them out of his shared side of the bridge. It was impossible, he said, as Grasley’s storm door was wide open, blocking the way back, and she was also on their way.

“We were unable to respond to her request because she was holding the door,” he said. “She knocked my (baseball) cap off the bridge and that’s when all the chaos broke out.”

Gunn said St. Jean, who at 27 was the oldest participant in the event, then came in between Grasley and the others, and a fight ensued.


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“Steph (Stephanie Martin) tried to push her out of the way to close the door,” he said.

It was then that Grasley shouted “Tyler!” Tyler! Come here! ”Two men walked out of his unit and“ asked if we had a problem, ”Gunn said.

“I don’t know who said it, but we tried to reassure them that our path was blocked and we wanted to come back,” Gunn said.

Gunn said he then saw pushing and shoving and the next thing he remembered seeing was St. John with his head over the railing and appearing to be unconscious.

“I see blood coming out of his mouth,” Gunn said. “It made me think he had just been punched.”

Moments later, Gunn recalls, he found out that St. John had in fact been stabbed, and CPR began after his colleague at Boston Pizza was lowered onto the bridge. Gunn said he also remembered the two men pulling Grasley by the arm in his unit.

“I just watched her walk into the house and the door slammed in our face,” he said.

Gunn said he and another participant went to the unit’s lower door to prevent Grasley and the two men from leaving the unit, while Danny Charron blocked the unit’s main door on the bridge.

“We wanted to keep them,” he said. “The cops were on their way.

Gunn was testifying on day four of the Sels judge and jury trial, which began at the Sudbury courthouse last week.

Sels, now 23, pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in the death of St. John; aggravated stab wounds with a knife, injuring Martin in the shoulder; and assault with a weapon (knife) injuring Marc-André Leduc in the forearm.


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The Crown is represented by Assistant Crown Attorneys Terry Waltenbury and Kaely Whillans. Michael Puskas of Hamilton represents Salts.

What is not at issue in the trial, the jury was told last week, is that Sels used a knife to stab the three people.

Waltenbury, in describing the Crown theory at the start of the trial, said that after the trio were stabbed, one of those present at the event called his father, who lived nearby and was a paramedic in retirement. The father arrived quickly and performed CPR in Saint-Jean, who had a section of his intestines protruding from a large cut to the lower abdomen, and showing no vital signs.

Paramedics from Greater Sudbury arrived at the scene then took over and St. John was rushed to Health Sciences North by ambulance. He was later pronounced dead in hospital.

Waltenbury said Sels, who rushed into the upset neighbor’s unit (which he had recently moved into), was later found under a bed and arrested.

A Greater Sudbury Police search of the unit did not immediately find a knife, but the tenant contacted police three days later to say she had found a knife with a six inch blade near the sofa. The knife appeared to have blood on it and it was sent for forensic testing.

The blood was determined to be from Saint John and it was calculated that the odds of another unrelated person matching were greater than one in a trillion.

An autopsy conducted in Saint-Jean revealed that two of the stab wounds had reached six inches deep in his chest. One punctured a lung while another in the lower chest exposed part of his small intestine. The cause of death was determined to be multiple stab wounds which resulted in excessive blood loss.


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The Crown expects to call around 40 witnesses during the four-week trial.

Waltenbury said two key issues in the lawsuit will be what prompted Sels to attack St. John and the other two, and whether or not Sels used the knife in justified circumstances. He said that as far as the Crown was concerned, “there was no justification”.

Alexi Kennedy, who was one of the people who had gone out for a cigarette, testified on Monday that when Grasley opened her door and blocked the group’s return path, the woman grabbed Martin’s hair.

“Steph started fighting back,” Kennedy recalls. “She hit the lady for grabbing her hair.”

Grasley then started shouting for Sels, who was standing in the doorway of the women’s unit. The woman let go of Martin’s hair and walked back inside her unit, Sels got out and St. John walked over to Sels.

“Charles started heading for the door trying to annoy Tyler,” she recalls. “I started screaming for everyone to come inside the house.”

Kennedy said she grabbed Martin and tried to go down the stairs because “I just wanted to go inside and not be outside with them (the men)”.

Kennedy said she hadn’t seen what happened between Sels and Saint-Jean, a knife, or Saint-Jean, Martin or Leduc being stabbed.

But she saw an unconscious Saint John hanging from the railing.

“Her eyes were closed,” she recalls. “He had blood flowing from his mouth and nose. It was right after I grabbed Steph.

Kennedy said she had helped Martin down St. John’s to the floor of the bridge and it was then that the group learned that he had been seriously injured, his stomach having been split. She said she applied pressure to a wound while Martin began cardiopulmonary resuscitation.

During cross-examination, Martin was reminded of his testimony at the preliminary hearing and his statement to the police. She said her previous testimony had not refreshed her memory and that she did not recall everyone on the bridge getting close to Sels before the knife incident.

Kennedy said she remembered Martin hitting Grasley and a physical altercation that took place on the bridge, but couldn’t remember who did what, and that her memory of Sels was that he was right at the door.

The trial continues on Tuesday.

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