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Homicide victim's family gets first glimpse of suspect
Published Friday, June 24, 2011 4:34PM MDT
The family of 20-year-old Dylan McGillis, who was stabbed to death on Whyte Ave. nearly five years ago, got their first glimpse of the man facing manslaughter charges in connection to the case.
On November 19th, 2006, the 20-year-old victim was swarmed, attacked and fatally stabbed in front of dozens of onlookers, just months before the birth of his baby girl.
Now five years later, Edmonton police arrested and charged Cleophas (Cliff) Decoine-Zuniga with one count of manslaughter in connection to the case.
The 23-year-old made a brief court appearance Friday morning. The victim's family sat stunned, trying to hold back their emotions.
"I jumped up and I guess maybe in court I shouldn't have, but I didn't really care," said Dylan's grandmother, Georgina McGillis.
When the family initially found out police had made an arrest and laid charges against Decoine-Zuniga, they said for a moment they felt a sense of closure, but after seeing the accused in court, the victim's grandparents say their loss had been renewed.
"Dylan's murder left a hole in our family," said Dylan's grandfather, Bill McGillis. "Marlene [Dylan's mother] sat in intensive care for hours watching Dylan die after he was stabbed...knife blade cut his aorta. Tried everything, he fought 'til the end."
The family says they have been waiting for justice since the day Dylan was taken from them. Dylan's mother rushed to court Friday morning to see the accused but didn't make it in time. She says she knows there will be plenty of opportunity going forward.
"I realize that this is going to take a long haul, we dont want to, but I'd rather take it five years as long as they get every bloody one of them," said Marlene McGillis.
The investigation into Dylan's death isn't over. Police say they are still trying to locate other individuals in connection with the attack on McGillis.
The person police are looking for is described as possibly being of Asian decent, approximately 5'2" – 5'5"tall, slender with dark hair.
Police are releasing an image of the individual taken from surveillance video. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 423-4567.
Decoine-Zuniga is scheduled to make another court appearance on July 15th.
This will be a new chapter of pain for the McGillis' family, one that goes beyond grief.
"All the people that we've talked to over the years that have gone through these things... I am just terrified to go through this because I've seen the pain they've gone through, but I want it because I want those people in jail," said Marlene.
With files from Sonia Sunger