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Man charged in 2013 death of Calgary teen pleads not guilty to first-degree murder
Published Monday, January 14, 2019 7:19AM MST
Last Updated Monday, January 14, 2019 6:36PM MST
The trial for a man who was brought back from Vietnam to face a first-degree murder charge in the death of Lukas Strasser-Hird began in a Calgary courtroom on Monday.
Strasser-Hird, 18, was swarmed, beaten and stabbed outside a nightclub in 2013 and later succumbed to his injuries in hospital.
Nathan Gervais, 23, was charged with murder in the death and failed to show up for his original trial in 2016.
He was arrested in Vietnam in November 2017 and returned to Canada to face the charge.
On Monday, Gervais entered court with a shaved head, wearing a blue, jumpsuit and pleaded not guilty to the charge.
The Crown said five people were charged in connection to Strasser-Hird’s death and that two altercations occurred on the evening of November 23rd; one in front of the Vinyl nightclub and the second behind the club.
The prosecutor said that the first altercation happened after Strasser-Hird told one of the accused that he did not appreciate the use of a racial slur.
The Crown said Strasser-Hird was taken into the club by bouncers and released into the alley where the second altercation occurred. It’s believed that’s when Strasser-Hird was swarmed and assaulted.
The Crown believes that Gervais left the club to get a knife and then stabbed Strasser-Hird, intending to kill him.
CCTV footage from outside the club was examined by Calgary police and was shown to the court.
Lukas’ father Dale was in court for the proceedings and spoke to reporters during the break.
He said that he feels good about how the police handled the return of Gervais to Calgary to face justice.
“It’s difficult but it needs to be done,” he said. “We had thought once he was gone and thought he had left the country, we didn’t have a lot of hope for it but we’re sure glad that the police and the detective stayed on it and it’s a tough thing to be here but I’d rather be here than have Nathan sitting on a beach in Vietnam somewhere.”
He says he is grateful to the detectives on the case but that he never stops thinking of his son.
“He was the best thing that ever happened to me. He was a great, great kid and he deserves my presence,” he said. “I think about him from the moment I wake up, the moment I go to sleep, that’s just how it is for me so I’ll be here until the very end. I’ll be here at every parole hearing, I’ll be here at everything. I’m not going to miss a thing.”
The case is being heard by judge alone and the trial is scheduled for two weeks.
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