EPS confirm LRT death was homicide
Published Monday, December 31, 2012 9:19AM MST
Last Updated Monday, December 31, 2012 6:31PM MST
Edmonton police said second degree murder charges will be laid after a man died in an alleged assault in an LRT car.
Officers responded to the call just before 2 p.m. on Dec. 28, after a fight had taken place inside an LRT train, while it was moving north from the Coliseum station.
“During that fight, a fellow named Jeremy Newborn, who is 29-years-old, attacked and assaulted the victim who has been identified as John Hollar, who is also 29-years old,” EPS Detective Colin Derksen said. “That fight lasted for several minutes, throughout the duration of the trip from Coliseum to Clareview Station.”
Police arrived on scene to find the victim unconscious – and the suspect fled the scene, although he was caught a short time later near the station.
The victim was taken to hospital in critical condition and passed away on Dec. 30.
Police have charged Jeremy Newborn, 29 with aggravated assault, but since the victim has succumbed to his injuries, those charges were amended to second degree murder, although they have not been formally laid.
On Monday, police confirmed the autopsy had been completed, and Hollar’s death was homicide.
Even before the autopsy was done, police were confident in saying the charges would be upgraded.
"We're comfortable, even at this point, [that] the charges, Mr. Newborn's charges, [will be upgraded] to second degree murder," Det. Derksen said. "We're confident Mr. Hollar died from the injuries he received during the attack."
The entire altercation was recorded on surveillance footage, investigators called the incident ‘one-sided’.
“Mr. Newborn was the aggressor, and he continued that violence throughout,” Det. Derksen said.
Police said the assault lasted for about 6 minutes – despite other passengers trying to intervene, and alerting the LRT operator and police.
The passengers left the train at Belvedere Station – and officials made a difficult call.
“What then happened was the suspect was still assaulting the victim at this time,” Ron Gabruck, Director of Operational Support at ETS said. “The doors closed again and there was a decision made through our control centre to go on to Clareview [Station], where we had resources available.”
Resources at that station included a safety inspector, who watched the suspect flee the train after it stopped – and helped police arrest him while paramedics rushed Hollar to hospital.
Investigators believe the victim and the suspect knew each other, and the victim was most likely targeted.
“I’m suspecting he was specifically targeted,” Det. Derksen said. “We see nothing in the footage to show that other people were the targets.”
Newborn made his first court appearance Monday morning; he has been scheduled to appear in court again on Jan. 14 – second-degree murder charges will also be laid, officially, on that date.
Until then, the suspect will remain in custody.
This is Edmonton's 28th homicide of the year.
Police are asking anyone with information on this assault to call the Edmonton Police Service non-emergency line at 780-423-4567 or #377 on a mobile phone.
Anonymous tips can also be passed on by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-TIPS (8477).
With files from Susan Amerongen