Man accused of killing Michael Wassill 'didn't mean to hurt him,' court hears

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

The man accused of killing Michael Wassill inside his Orléans home four years ago broke down Monday as he told a jury he "didn't mean to hurt" the young man.

"I didn't want a confrontation," Carson Morin said in the witness box Monday, his fifth day of testifying at his first-degree murder trial. 

The 24-year-old has pleaded not guilty in the stabbing death of Wassill, 20, who died inside his 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, has told the jury her client did kill Wassill, but that he did so in self-defence.

Got call from victim

Morin testified Monday that on May 14, 2013 — the night before the killing — he got a call from Wassill.

Wassill had been providing temporary shelter to the woman, who cannot be named due to a publication ban, after she had a fallout with Morin over her job at a local strip club.

Morin had been driving the woman to and from the club, he testified last week, taking a cut of her earnings and paying for her tanning, hair and makeup bills. 

He told court Monday that during that phone call, Wassill invited him over to his house. In the background, Morin said, he could hear male voices saying "get him over here" with an aggressive tone.

Morin testified he was scared he would be hurt if went over to the house. He said he remembered exactly where he was when Wassill called, and it was at that point during Morin's testimony that he lost his composure.

"You don't forget that stuff. It just kind of hits me weird that way," he said, breaking down. "I didn't mean to hurt him."

After Justice Julianne Parfett ordered a short break, Morin resumed testifying. He said that on the morning of May 15, 2013, he drove to Wassill's house to collect money he believed the woman owed him — money he needed to pay his rent, he told court.

When he pulled into the driveway, Morin said, he was "nervous [and] sweating."

Morin said that before he approached the house, he put on a pair of blue latex gloves he'd been using earlier to clean his condo. He also grabbed an exacto knife from the centre console of the car, sticking it in his pocket.

Morin said he'd taken the knife out of a drawer in his condo and placed it in the car "as a last resort," adding that he had "no intention to use it."

As for why he decided to wear the gloves, Morin called it a "last-minute decision."

"It gave me confidence, and calmed my nerves," he said.

Scuffle on doorstep

Earlier in the trial, the woman testified she'd become afraid of Morin, and that Wassill and his friends were planning to invite him over and insist that he leave her alone, with no intention of harming him.

Morin shared his own take on that encounter Monday afternoon.

He said that when he went up to the front door, he saw the woman sitting on the staircase inside. He said he motioned for the woman to answer the door, but that it was Wassill who opened up instead.

Wassill looked him straight in the eyes and aggressively demanded to know what he wanted, Morin said. He then told him to "f--- off," Morin said, lifting his right arm "quickly, like he was going to push me back."

"I pushed back with my left hand into his chest. I pushed harder than I thought," Morin said, adding his momentum carried him into Wassill's house.

It was around that point that Morin's lawyer noted it was getting late in the afternoon — prompting Parfett to note the day's testimony would end on a "cliffhanger."

The trial continues Tuesday.