Accused in fatal stabbing admits Michael Wassill died over $100

Trial of nephew's killer gave Ottawa lawyer victim's view of justice system

The man on trial for first-degree murder in the fatal stabbing of Michael Wassill said he killed him by accident over a $100 debt he says was owed to him by a woman living at Wassill's home.

Carson Morin, 24, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Wassill, who was fatally stabbed in his home in the Ottawa suburb of Orléans in May 2013.

Wednesday is the first day of the Crown's cross examination of Morin, who is the only witness his defence lawyers called to testify.

Morin again told the jury in the Ottawa courtroom he'd gone to Wassill's home on the afternoon of May 15 to collect money owed to him by the woman he had a business arrangement with.

The woman, who can't be identified due to a publication ban on her name, had moved in with Morin a month earlier but moved out several weeks later.

The woman and Morin both testified she'd turn over half of her earnings as a stripper to Morin — in exchange he would deliver marijuana to customers she was selling to and give her drives to and from the strip club.

'Michael Wassill died over $100?' Crown asks

Morin told the court he was owed $100 from the shift the woman worked the night before Wassill's death and he needed the money to pay his rent.

Crown Attorney Lia Bramwell asked Morin, "You were short on your rent so going to Michael Wassill's house was over $100?"

"I have acknowledged that and I'm really not happy about it," Morin replied.

"Michael Wassill died over $100?" the Crown asked.

Morin shot back: "This was over me being attacked and held against my will."

Morin had testified on Wednesday he and Wassill fought inside the home and that Wassill had him in a "bear-hug."

Bramwell repeated her question: "Mr. Wassill died over $100?"

"Essentially yes," Morin told the court.

'I just wanted to fend him off'

The Crown walked Morin through his previous testimony regarding what happened before and once he was inside the foyer of Wassill's house.

"You testified you were feeling nervous and said you were scared shitless," said Bramwell.

"Yes, I was sweating and shaking and feeling paranoid," said Morin.

Morin told the court that once Wassill had him in the bear hug he reached into the pocket of the hoodie sweater he was wearing and pushed the dial on the utility knife to move the blade up.

"So the blade was out," Bramwell asked him.

"It must have been," replied Morin. "I just wanted to fend him off."

The Crown asked Morin why he didn't just tell Wassill that he had a knife and to back off.

Morin answered several times during his testimony about why he didn't talk to Wassill.

'I will never forget what happened in that house'

"My tongue was frozen. Words weren't working for me," he said.

He agreed with the Crown that he was feeling a heightened sense of physical and emotional stress when he was in Wassill's foyer.

"They would have been at the highest point," said Morin.

Bramwell said given the state he was in, wasn't it possible that his memory was hampered about what actually happened?

"I have lived for four years replaying it over and over and over and I will never forget what happened in that house," replied Morin.

Bramwell put to Morin that the woman had told him the day before Wassill's killing that she wanted to end their business arrangement, emphasizing that by refusing to have him drive her to and from work that night.

'You were intent on getting your money'

"You didn't contribute anything to her shift that night," said the Crown.

"You could suggest that but that wasn't our agreement," said Morin.

"You knew that tap of income was being turned off," Bramwell suggested.

"I voluntarily turned it off," he replied.

Bramwell ended her day of cross examination by suggested to Morin that he actually wasn't scared when he went to Wassill's home.

"You were intent on getting your money — you were angry and frustrated and it was building inside you," said Bramwell.

"That is incorrect," Morin answered.

"It wasn't your life you were putting on the line by going to that house, it was Michael Wassill's and (the woman's) that you put on the line," said Bramwell. "That was your intent."

"That is incorrect," Morin again replied.

Cross examination of Morin is scheduled to continue Thursday.