A drug addict was acquitted on Friday of the premeditated murder of the man who sheltered him on his release from prison, because he was very intoxicated during the crime.
If Jonathan Lessard thus avoids an automatic sentence of life imprisonment, he will not be free as the air.
Superior Court Judge Myriam Lachance dismissed the most serious charge in the Criminal Code, but found the 38-year-old guilty of manslaughter.
During his trial, which was held before the Holidays, Lessard had also admitted to being at the origin of the death of Serge Schinck.
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The criminal with a heavy criminal record maintained, however, that he was in toxic psychosis during the tragedy, and that he did not intend to kill the 54-year-old man.
The facts date back to September 16, 2017. Released from prison four days earlier, Lessard had neither housing nor money.
After spending time with his mother, he went to live in Mr. Schinck’s home in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, in the Montérégie region.
Coke, Meth and Alcohol
In the hours leading up to the crime, Lessard consumed copious amounts of cocaine, methamphetamine, and alcohol.
Several witnesses who saw him during his few days of freedom noted that he made incoherent comments, notably speaking of aliens, Jesus and archangels. In his delirium, for some reason that remains rather unclear, he hit Mr. Schinck on the head at least three times with a pipe wrench.
Lessard then swaddled the victim’s body with a blanket and a shower curtain and disposed of it in a swampy area.
Without news of her father, one of Mr. Schinck’s daughters contacted the police the next day. She had found it strange that Lessard was occupying her father’s apartment, using his Jeep and wearing his clothes.
Disappeared for two days
Lessard was arrested the same day, but it was not until September 19 that Mr. Schinck’s body was found.
The Crown, represented by Messrs. Patrick Cardinal and Karim Ainmelk, claimed that the killer had beaten the victim to death in order to appropriate his home and his property, an explanation that Judge Lachance did not accept.
“All of the evidence leaves me in no doubt as to the strong intoxication of the accused. […] Nevertheless, all of the evidence clearly reveals symptoms that go beyond mere intoxication, ”the magistrate concluded on Friday.
When the verdict of manslaughter was pronounced, tears welled in the eyes of Lessard, who seemed could not more relieved of the outcome.
As for the many relatives of the victim, they promptly left the courtroom, in shock, and refused to address the media.
Death from drugs
“When we say that there is a link between drug addiction and crime, can we have a better example? There is a man who died who should never have died, ”commented Me Martin Latour, who defends the accused with Me Emmanuelle Rheault.
Jonathan Lessard remains in custody pending his sentence, which will be debated in the spring.
Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my email@example.com 1-800-268-7116