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Calgary killer who wrote rap called Victim pleads guilty to manslaughter

Steven Joseph Reader, 29, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing death of Michael Lloyd, 42, who was killed on Aug. 4, 2021. (Calgary Police Service - image credit)
Steven Joseph Reader, 29, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing death of Michael Lloyd, 42, who was killed on Aug. 4, 2021. (Calgary Police Service - image credit)

A Calgary man who fatally stabbed his friend, watched him bleed to death while begging for an ambulance and then left him "to rot" in a bathroom for five days, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday.

Steven Joseph Reader, 29, fatally stabbed Michael Lloyd, 42, on Aug. 4, 2021.

Police found Lloyd's body five days after he was killed after blood began seeping into the downstairs tenants' apartment.

"I'm horrified by the way my son laid there dead for so long before someone found him," wrote Lloyd's father, Michael Donald Lloyd, in a victim impact statement he read aloud in court.

"We have to live with this thought of our son lying in the bathroom rotting with no one to help him."

Victim asked killer to stay with girlfriend

At the time of the fatal stabbing, Lloyd was living with his girlfriend, Juliana Bastine, in a downtown Calgary apartment.

Details of the killing come from an agreed statement of facts, read aloud by prosecutor William Tran as part of Reader's guilty plea.

Lloyd asked his friend Reader to stay with Bastine for a few days to help her as she experienced withdrawal symptoms from trying to quit drugs.

But on Aug. 4, Lloyd returned to the apartment he shared with Bastine to find she had locked him out after he'd been in Saskatchewan for a few days.

Angry, Lloyd broke through the locked door of the apartment, which angered Bastine.

Victim begged for help

Once inside the apartment, Lloyd fixed the door. But he and Reader got into a fight after Lloyd pushed Bastine aside.

Reader stabbed Lloyd several times. After Lloyd took off his shirt, "blood was spurting everywhere," Bastine told police.

Lloyd begged his killer and girlfriend to call 911.

"Get help … help," he screamed.

"Call an ambulance. Get help. Help now. Help."

Reader responded to Lloyd's pleas for help with "f--k you, die," according to the agreed statement of facts.

The cleanup

Lloyd bled to death on the floor of the apartment. Reader and Bastine then dragged his body to the bathroom, where they left it.

"My son cried out for them to call an ambulance, they then tried to cover up the evidence by leaving him in the bathroom to rot," wrote Lloyd's father in his statement.

After moving the body, Bastine and Reader spent hours cleaning the blood. They also removed boxes and bags of evidence.

Juliana Bastine, left, and Steven Joseph Reader, right, carry boxes out of the apartment Bastine shared with her boyfriend Michael Lloyd who was killed by Reader.
Juliana Bastine, left, and Steven Joseph Reader, right, carry boxes out of the apartment Bastine shared with her boyfriend Michael Lloyd who was killed by Reader.

Juliana Bastine, left, and Steven Joseph Reader, right, carry boxes out of the apartment Bastine shared with her boyfriend Michael Lloyd, who was killed by Reader. (Court exhibit )

On Aug. 9, after Bastine and Lloyd's downstairs neighbour reported a leak in their apartment, police discovered the victim's body.

Bastine turned herself in the day after Lloyd's body was found. She pleaded guilty earlier this year to accessory after the fact to murder.

Reader was arrested about a month after Lloyd's death after police released security-camera images of him entering and leaving Bastine's apartment building.

Rap lyrics seized by police

In the course of their investigation, police seized rap lyrics written by Reader to a song titled Victim.

"I wish I had the taste of true love, now I got the taste of true blood," wrote Reader.

"The evil in me seeps through my pores."

On Monday, Court of King's Bench Justice Corina Dario handed Reader a nine-year prison sentence after a joint proposal from prosecutors Tran and Donna Spaner and defence lawyers Matthew Walton and Krysia Przepiorka.

"You have had a long history with the courts," Justice Dario said to Reader before he was taken away to begin serving his sentence.

"If you don't get off the path that you are on, things will not get better for you, sir. Try to change the course that your life is heading on."