A Winnipeg man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the stabbing death of a Winnipeg lawyer.
After less than a day of deliberation, jurors on Tuesday rejected 21-year-old Keishawn Mitchell’s defence that he was protecting himself when he stabbed Justin Silicz in June 2019.
During the trial, jurors heard different accounts of what started as a request for a cigarette and led to Silicz’s death.
The court heard that Silicz left a nightclub with Andrea Bosnjak and Tony Hazjler. The three of them crossed paths with Mitchell and two others on Winnipeg Avenue.
One of Mitchell’s friends asked Silicz’s group for a smoke.
Bosnjak responded with a request for a joke before the request would be filled.
Mitchell’s “joke” included “your ass,” according to Mitchell and Bosnjak.
Hazjler then called Mitchell out for the response and the two got into a verbal argument.
Mitchell testified that he punched Hazjler in the face because he thought he was going to get hit first.
Hazjler punched back and then Silicz jumped in, according to Mitchell.
Mitchell said that he pulled out a pocket knife and “poked” Silicz twice on his left side to defend himself from the “two big guys” coming at him.
Crown attorney Amy Wood told jurors self-defence is not to be used as an insurance policy in a court of law.
She said Mitchell was the aggressor who single-handedly created the threat to himself.
If anything, Wood said Silicz was acting in self-defence when he went to help Hazjler after he was punched.