The final homecoming of Lukas Strasser-Hird

Lukas Strasser-Hird had dreams of becoming a doctor, specifically a trauma surgeon. The 18-year-old wanted to help people.

Instead, on Nov. 23, 2013, he laid on an operating table as a trauma surgeon tried to save his life.

Just one day earlier, Lukas arrived home from Bolivia after a year studying abroad.

That night, to celebrate his homecoming, Lukas and some friends went to a few bars in downtown Calgary, Alta. They ended up at Vinyl Nightclub, where they enjoyed the music and laughs.

It was last call when the evening took a shocking turn.

You can watch Crime Beat on Global TV every Saturday at 7 p.m.

Listen to Nancy Hixt’s podcast: The final homecoming of Lukas Strasser-Hird, parts 1 and 2.

Lukas was stabbed multiple times: twice in the right upper abdomen, once in the right back side of his abdomen and once in the front right upper chest. The last wound punctured both his heart and his lungs and would potentially have been fatal on its own.

He was bleeding both internally and externally and had multiple blunt-force injuries to his hands, arms, ankle and back.

Lukas also suffered 11 injuries to his head, leading to a concussive brain injury, skull fractures, brain bruising and further bleeding.


Despite all the best efforts from doctors, Lukas could not be saved.

Nathan Gervais was charged with first-degree murder. Assmar Shlah, Franz Cabrera, Joch Pouk and Jordan Liao were charged with second-degree murder.

Each of the young men accused of murder was eventually granted bail.

In the meantime, the wheels of justice moved slowly in the case. Two and a half years passed before the accused killers would stand trial.

On the eve of the trial, Gervais skipped bail. The trial went ahead without him.

After six weeks of graphic evidence, including witness accounts that Lukas had been swarmed, confined and beaten more than once outside the bar, it took jurors several days to reach their verdicts.

READ MORE: Global News coverage of the death of Lukas Strasser-Hird

Shlah and Cabrera were found guilty of second-degree murder. Pouk was found guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Liao was found not guilty and left court a free man.

But the emotional roller-coaster Lukas’ family was experiencing was far from over.

Within days of the verdicts being handed down, the convicted killers began filing appeals, and with that came several bail applications.

Meanwhile, Gervais was still on the run, and Lukas’ loved ones were beginning to lose hope that he would ever be caught.

Then, nearly two years after he skipped bail, Calgary police tracked Gervais down in Vietnam, and he was brought back to finally stand trial.

One day before what would have been Lukas’ 24th birthday, five and a half years after his death, Gervais was found guilty of first-degree murder.

But that didn’t mean the battle was over for Lukas’ family.

Click to play video: 'Lukas Strasser-Hird’s father reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling' Lukas Strasser-Hird’s father reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling
Lukas Strasser-Hird’s father reacts to the Supreme Court of Canada’s ruling – Mar 20, 2020

Gervais also filed an appeal, which has yet to be heard.

In November 2019, six years after Lukas was killed, the Supreme Court of Canada heard the appeals of Shlah and Cabrera.

Without even hearing from the prosecution, the Supreme Court justices dismissed the appeals. Shlah and Cabrera stand convicted of the second-degree murder of Lukas.

For Lukas’ father, the decisions came as a reprieve, and for a brief moment, the pain that filled his eyes for years was replaced with relief.

You can watch previous episodes of Crime Beat on Global TV and on YouTube, and listen to the Crime Beat podcast hosted by Nancy Hixt.