A Winnipeg judge has found a man guilty in a seemingly unprovoked attack that left a broken claw hammer embedded in a 15-year-old boy’s skull.
Jerry Robert Kipling, 30, was convicted of aggravated assault for the May 2020 attack.
Court heard the teen was ordering slices of pizza in a shop and began talking with a man in a blue shirt.
An agreed statement of facts said an employee saw the teen and the man getting along as the man showed the boy items in his backpack.
But when the teen left the restaurant, it says, the man followed him and hit him in the head with the claw of a hammer.
“The attacker struck him with such force the handle broke off,” provincial court Judge Murray Thompson said in his decision on Friday.
Police at the time described the teen’s injuries as catastrophic.
The court heard the teenager continues to suffer from the injury. He did not testify because he struggled to recall details of what happened.
Multiple surveillance cameras captured the attack and the suspect as he fled the scene. Police released images from the footage in the days following.
The court heard Kipling’s aunt and cousin saw the images and contacted police.
“Both witnesses testified they were certain it was the accused,” Thompson said.
The defence argued the family members’ identification was not beyond a reasonable doubt. Lawyer Mike Cook also brought up a lack of forensic evidence.
When Kipling was arrested he was also in possession of a backpack, shoes and a knife. Thompson said they were similar to those carried by the teen’s attacker.
The court did not hear a reason for the vicious attack on the unsuspecting teenager. Kipling will be sentenced at a later date.