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Accused in Edmonton high schooler stabbing death pleads guilty

A manslaughter trial for one of the seven youth accused in the 2022 fatal stabbing death of a Grade 10 student got underway today. Another of the accused who was also supposed to go to trial pleaded guilty to manslaughter. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press - image credit)
A manslaughter trial for one of the seven youth accused in the 2022 fatal stabbing death of a Grade 10 student got underway today. Another of the accused who was also supposed to go to trial pleaded guilty to manslaughter. (Jason Franson/The Canadian Press - image credit)

A 18-year-old pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday, admitting he was part of a group assault during which an Edmonton high school student was fatally stabbed in 2022.

The identity of the 18-year-old  is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. He's referred to as B.J. in the public court schedule.

The name of the victim, the other six youth who were charged in the fatal assault, and the name of the high school the victim attended are all also under publication bans.

A manslaughter trial for another youth charged in the group assault, 17-year-old S.M., got underway in Edmonton Court of King's Bench Tuesday and is expected to run until next week.

Family members of both the victim and S.M. sat in court Tuesday while S.M. entered a not guilty plea. The first witnesses will be called Wednesday.

Accused admits to joining group assault

B.J. had been scheduled to go to trial alongside S.M., but pleaded guilty in front of a different King's Bench judge an hour before the trial started.

According to an agreed statement of facts, on April 8, 2022, B.J. was in his first class at an Edmonton high school, and then decided to join friends in skipping class for the rest of the day.

He and four other young people drove around in a Honda Civic to other high schools, a recreation centre and a gas station in southwest Edmonton where they met up with another group of youths who were driving a Mercedes Benz SUV.

Between the two vehicles, there were nine youths. They drove around the city until deciding to return to B.J.'s school, arriving at about 2:40 p.m.

Upon arrival, S.M. and another boy spotted the victim – a Grade 10 student – walking in a nearby field. They approached him, and all three boys "adopt fighting postures, as if they are going to fight," the agreed facts state.

At the same time, B.J., who was carrying a hockey stick, and two other youths approached the group.

The victim tried to run away, but was pursued by the group. He was tackled and punched multiple times, and at some point during the fight was stabbed twice.

The agreed facts don't specify who stabbed the victim, simply stating that B.J. neither stabbed nor punched him.

After the assault, the group of youths were picked up by the same two vehicles that had dropped them off, and then headed to Meadows Recreation Centre where they all split up.

Meanwhile, the victim walked back to where he had dropped his backpack and collapsed. He was taken to hospital, but died of his stab wounds on April 15, 2022.

Two trials scheduled for fall

B.J. is the second accused to plead guilty in the case. Last year, a girl who was 17 at the time of the attack pleaded guilty to accessory after the fact to an assault with a weapon. She was sentenced to 12 months probation.

Another accused is scheduled to go to trial for second-degree murder in September. The three remaining accused face manslaughter charges and are set to go to trial together in November.