Two teenagers have been charged with second-degree murder after the body of a 17-year-old boy was found on Nuns’ Island last Monday.
The boy and girl, both aged 17, were arrested late Tuesday night by Montreal police.
“It appears it was an armed robbery that went bad,” said police spokesperson Manuel Couture.
The two appeared in Quebec Youth Court on Wednesday in Montreal. The Crown has asked for the suspects to be sentenced as adults if they are convicted.
“They are facing seven years maximum,” said Crown prosecutor Sophie Lamarre. “For an adult sentence, it’s a maximum life sentence.”
Defence lawyer Daniele Roy told reporters outside the courtroom that the Crown’s request to have the suspects sentenced as adults if found guilty is standard in these types of cases.
“All I can say is that it’s the usual step,” she said.
“Meaning, when there are murder accusations, it’s almost automatic that the Crown will make this kind of request — and it’s far from certain it will be accepted.”
The pair remain in custody. They are expected back in court on Nov. 21.
WATCH: Montrealers rally around the victim’s family
Body found Monday morning
The teenage victim’s body was discovered in a park near de Gaspé Street early Monday morning. A large security perimeter was set up as investigators combed the wooded area for evidence.
While police first believed the teenager’s death was an accident, the investigation was transferred back from a coroner to Montreal police’s major crimes division on Monday.
On Tuesday, police said they ruled the teenager’s death as a homicide following an autopsy. Montreal police spokesperson Andrée-Anne Picard said he had been attacked in the lower body, “probably with an edged weapon.”
The two teenagers were then arrested late Tuesday night and it is unclear whether they knew the victim.
The victim’s name is protected by a publication ban. The accused cannot be identified since they are minors.
The homicide is Montreal’s 27th this year.
Community gathers to remember teen
Bouquets of colourful flowers have been left close near the entrance of a wooded area where the victim was found.
“I just prayed for him, for his soul and for his mother and his brother,” said resident Nadia Khelil.
“It’s hard. It’s hard for every one of us here — especially the Muslim community.”
The teenager is being remembered for his kindness, she added.
“He was a very generous kid, he was helping everybody on Nuns’ Island,” she said.
Hundreds gathered on Wednesday night as part of a wake and vigil for the slain teenager at Al Jazira Centre, the local mosque. It has launched an online fundraising campaign for the victim’s mother and brother.
Mourad Bendjennet, the administrator at the centre, said the community has rallied around the family.
“Everybody’s shocked and terrified after what we heard this week,” he said.
— with files from Global’s Dan Spector and The Canadian Press