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'Almost like corralling an animal': Eyewitness to deadly attack on 16-year-old testifies at manslaughter trial

An Edmonton police officer at the scene of a deadly attack on a 16-year-old boy in 2022.  (CTV News Edmonton) An Edmonton police officer at the scene of a deadly attack on a 16-year-old boy in 2022. (CTV News Edmonton)
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The trial for SM, one of seven teens charged with the death of a 16-year-old near a school in 2022, has entered its second week.

The teens involved and name of the school cannot be identified because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act and a second publication ban granted at the start of the trial.

A second eyewitness to the attack was called to testify on Monday.

She said she was parked on the street across from the field near the school that day, waiting to pick up her daughter.

"I just thought they were horsing around and then it just escalated from there," she told the court.

"The person that got jumped on, he threw or wrestled him off of his back," she said, adding the group followed him as he walked away.

"Then they pulled out some weapons," she said.

"The group of them attacked with what looked like their hands and then the field hockey stick. After they hit him multiple times with the field hockey stick they pulled out a gun and shot him."

Crown prosecutor Bethan Franklyn asked, "How many boys were part of this group that were attacking him?"

"Four to six," she answered.

She said one of the boys in the group had the field hockey stick. "Where were they hitting the victim?" Franklyn asked. "In the torso," she said, adding, "Upper to middle, maybe the head in the back."

Franklyn then questioned the witness about the gun. She said she heard four or five bangs.

"How far was the person holding this gun away from the victim?" Franklyn asked.

"About three feet," she replied.

She described the sound like an airsoft pellet gun. She said the group stayed close to the boy, trying to keep him from running away. "Almost like corralling an animal," she recalled.

The witness said she also heard the older man yelling at the group.

"They paused to look at him," she said. "The victim took that as his chance to run away."

In a video played for the court the boy can be seen walking away from the group, fall, get up and take a few steps, then fall again.

That's when the woman said she rushed over to him while on the phone with 911.

"He was not moving, he was in and out of consciousness, he was breathing," she said.

She said she told the 911 operator there was a wound on his back that was bleeding, then he stopped breathing.

"I was instructed to start chest compressions," she said.

The boy was taken to hospital where he died a week later of his injuries.

During cross-examination, Brian Beresh, SM's defence lawyer, asked several questions about her statement to police and how soon it was completed after the incident..

"Your best recollection within 20 to 30 minutes of witnessing this in broad daylight was that there was four people involved other than the person hurt, agreed?" Beresh asked.

"Yes," she said.

Then his attention turned to one of the videos she had just seen.

"My observation is you never got out of your car until after?" Beresh asked.

"Yes," she said.

He then pointed out that at least eight vehicles drove past her's at the time the attack was happening.

"You couldn't see over them if you were sitting in your car?" he asked. "I would agree," she replied.

Beresh suggested the cars passing might have blocked her view of some of what was going on. "OK," she answered. When he also asked if she could tell who in the group was doing what specifically, she could not.

The trial continues on Wednesday.

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