Two gang-involved teens acted together to beat an innocent Winnipeg father to death in his own yard, attack the pregnant daughter he tried in vain to protect, and then stash the murder weapon.
That's what Crown prosecutors alleged this morning in the Court of Queen's Bench as the teens went on trial for second-degree murder in connection to the death of Joseph Lalonde, 48, on Aug. 24, 2011.
They were 15 at the time and charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. They cannot be identified. Each has pleaded not guilty.
Lalonde was brutally beaten with a bat and kicked in the yard of his home in the 400 block of Dufferin Avenue.
He suffered major head trauma and ultimately died of blunt-force trauma five days after being rushed to hospital, Crown attorney Susan Baragar said in her opening address to jurors.
Minutes before Lalonde was attacked, a group of young people were outside near his home arguing, jurors heard. One of the accused rode by on his bike and gang slogans were hurled between him and the group, said Baragar.
After riding off, he met up with his co-accused at a nearby home, said Baragar. The pair then returned with a bat and an air rifle to confront the group, she added. They were gone.
But Lalonde's daughter, 18, was in her yard and they confronted her instead, alleged Baragar.
Lalonde saw what was happening, tried to intervene to protect her and was attacked. One accused allegedly used the bat while the other kicked him repeatedly.
When his daughter, then 22 weeks pregnant, tried to pull them off of her dad, they struck her, Baragar said.
The teens left the area and hid the bat under some stairs at a nearby home, jurors were told.
Police found the victim's blood on it as well as on clothes seized from both teens, said Baragar.
"I think we killed him," one of them is alleged to have told people right after the assault, said Baragar.
The case is a simple one, Baragar said — the teens acted together in all material ways and are jointly culpable for the death. A pathologist is expected to testify that it wasn't possible to say one blow in particular killed Lalonde. It was the cumulative damage done which ended his life.
"They beat Joseph Lalonde to death together," said Baragar.
The trial is slated to last up to three weeks.