Man accused of killing Michael Wassill tells court he was 'technically' a pimp

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

The man accused of killing Michael Wassill as he protected a young woman inside his Orléans home told court that he was "technically" a pimp — even though he may not have fit the legal description.

Carson Morin, 24, spent a third day Thursday testifying at his own first-degree murder trial.

He has pleaded not guilty in the stabbing death of the 20-year-old Wassill, who was killed inside his Orléans home on Fernleaf Drive in May 2013.

The Crown has said Wassill was fatally slashed across the throat with a boxcutter while trying to protect a woman who was Morin's former girlfriend. 

Morin's defence lawyer, Natasha Calvinho, told the jury her client did kill Wassill, but said he did so out of self-defence.

Was 'fed up'

Morin had previously testified that he'd helped the woman — who can't be named due to a publication ban — sell marijuana, as well as drive her to and from her job at a strip club.

Earlier in the trial, the woman testified that she'd become increasingly frightened of Morin after he began stealing her money, and eventually sought protection from Wassill, a platonic friend.

Morin continued testifying Thursday about how their relationship deteriorated in the days leading up to Wassill's death.

He told the Ottawa courtroom that by May 4 — five days before the woman moved in with Wassill — he was "fed up," and that they were merely business associates by that point.

Morin said they'd agreed on a goal of bringing in $400 during each of the woman's shifts at the strip club, from which she would take her share before turning the rest over.

He testified that he had expenses, including paying half of the woman's tanning, nails, hair and makeup bills.

"It was part of my investment in the business," he said.

On May 6 — despite having told the woman they were no longer a couple — they slept together after a night of drinking, Morin said.

'Relieved' when woman moved out

But two days later, they had a "heated" argument, Morin said. She moved out the next day and moved in with Wassill, he added — a decision he was fine with.

"I was relieved," he testified. "It would be less of a headache."

The woman had earlier told court that she had a fraught relationship with Morin in the days before she moved out, accusing him at one point of threatening to "strip [her] down" if she didn't hand over her wages.

Morin said Thursday that despite the theft allegations, the share of the profits was close to fifty-fifty. 

He told court that while he did describe himself to others as a pimp, it was a "complicated word" for him.

"I saw myself technically as a pimp — but legally, no," he said.

Morin also acknowledged that in the days before Wassill's death, he sent the woman a text message, threatening to call up the strip club and get her fired.

"I was done with her and our business arrangement, but she wanted to continue," Morin said.

Despite his frustrations, Morin said he continued working with her for one simple reason.

"Money," he said. "I was broke."