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Trial begins for St. Albert man who stabbed toddler-aged child

The man pleaded not guilty to attempted murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of aggravated assault

Trial began today for a St. Albert man who has been charged with attempting to murder his toddler-aged son.

The man pleaded not guilty to attempted murder.

Court of King’s Bench heard that the child was stabbed multiple times in the chest and arm with a short, curved blade.

The Crown has called six witnesses: three family members of the victim, two police officers and a first responder.

The Gazette cannot name the man or the family members due to a publication ban on any information that could identify the victim.

The defendant’s parents, who lived with the defendant and his son at the time of the incident, took the stand Monday morning.

They described the family’s thanksgiving dinner on the evening before the crime, which happened on the morning of Oct. 10, 2021. Although the defendant had been emotional, crying frequently in the weeks and months before the crime, both parents said nothing out of the ordinary happened at dinner.

The defendant’s mother said that the following morning also proceeded as usual. She described waking up to find the child in his normal place, sitting on the couch in the living room of the family’s home and drinking a sippy cup full of milk.

When the defendant called his son upstairs, the grandmother believed the defendant wanted to bathe the child and make sure the child brushed his teeth, as this was their normal routine.

But soon after the child went upstairs, she heard screaming and crying, she told court.

When she went to investigate, she found the child standing in his bedroom closet, his father on the floor nearby. The child was covered in blood, screaming, and there was blood on the floor, she said.

She shouted for her husband, who was still in bed at the time, to come help. Then, still in her pyjamas, she rushed to the child, picked him up and called an ambulance.

The defendant’s father said that he came upstairs, still in his underwear, and grabbed his son in “a hug” from behind. He wanted to restrain the defendant so the defendant couldn’t “run away,” he said.

While restrained, the defendant told his father that he wanted to “kiss the baby,” the father said.

The father also found a small, curved knife on the floor of the victim’s room. He handed the knife to the defendant’s mother, he said. The mother told court she put the knife in the kitchen sink downstairs.

The victim’s mother testified in the afternoon. She and the defendant had a “business-like” relationship when it came to managing split custody of their child, she said.

She described rushing to the Stollery Children’s Hospital to find her son looking “pale, fragile” and “sickly.”

The child’s recovery was “horrific, extremely traumatizing, extremely uncomfortable, itchy, painful,” she said.

While the child has made a full physical recovery, he still has scars from the stabbing, she said.

St. Albert paramedic Andrew Tyler Appleyard also took the stand in the afternoon.

Appleyard said he found the child face down, in the middle of an upstairs hallway, and with his knees tucked into his chest when paramedics arrived at the home.

The defendant’s father still was still restraining his son when Appleyard entered the victim’s bedroom, he said.

Appleyard described the defendant as seeming “violent, distraught” and speaking in an “aggressive” tone of voice.

He testified that the child was stabbed in the “cardiac box,” an area in the centre of the chest that is extremely dangerous to puncture because of the major blood vessels that rest underneath the tissue.

The defendant also had injuries, Appleyard said: a bleeding wound on his upper chest and another on his leg.

The trial continues tomorrow. Follow the Gazette for updates.

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