Two plead not guilty in fa­tal Toronto school shoot­ing of teen

Cape Breton Post - - CLASSIFIED -

TORONTO (CP) — When a 15year-old boy, whose death would prompt ma­jor re­views of school safety, lay dy­ing at the bot­tom of a stair­well in his high school no one re­al­ized at first that he had been shot, a Toronto court heard Wed­nes­day.

Jor­dan Man­ners was ly­ing not in a pool of blood, as the bul­let was lodged in­side his slen­der body, but in his own urine, strug­gling to breathe and try­ing to speak.

It was only when teach­ers and staff no­ticed a dis­coloura­tion around a hole in his white jacket — right by the zip­per, which was par­tially melted — that they re­al­ized he had been shot.

Two young men pleaded not guilty to first-de­gree mur­der Wed­nes­day in the May 23, 2007, death of Man­ners. They can­not be iden­ti­fied as they were un­der 18 at the time of the killing.

Sev­eral wit­nesses are ex­pected to tes­tify they saw Man­ners walk­ing with the two ac­cused right be­fore he col­lapsed, Crown at­tor­ney Aaron Del Rizzo told the jury.

“(They) had the exclusive op­por­tu­nity to carry out the planned and de­lib­er­ate mur­der of Jor­dan Man­ners,” he said in his open­ing ad­dress.

One wit­ness, he said, is ex­pected to tes­tify she saw Man­ners just af­ter 2 p.m. walk­ing down a set of stairs, car­ry­ing a pop can. One ac­cused was in front of him while the other was be­hind him.

She saw one of the ac­cused drag Man­ners down the stairs and put some­thing to Man­ners’ chest, be­fore the boy col­lapsed on the ground, Del Rizzo said.

Im­me­di­ately af­ter­wards, one of the ac­cused ri­fled through Man­ners pock­ets and handed some items to the other ac­cused, and they both fled the scene, he said.

Court was shown pho­to­graphs of the cloth­ing Man­ners was wear­ing when he was shot — the white jacket, a black T-shirt and a Wash­ing­ton Bul­lets bas­ket­ball jer­sey.

Man­ners, who had turned 15 just days be­fore his death, died of a gun­shot wound al­most di­rectly in the mid­dle of his chest. The bul­let from a .25-cal­i­bre gun went through his heart, pierced his lung and was lodged in his body, Del Rizzo said.

“ The in­ci­dent which is the sub­ject mat­ter of this trial is a dis­turb­ing one,” he told the jury.

“ The shock­ing na­ture of this case is that it takes place in a high school, while class is in ses­sion, in the mid­dle of the af­ter­noon.”

Man­ners’ death prompted two ma­jor re­views on school safety and led to uni­formed of­fi­cers be­ing placed in some Toronto schools.

Premier Dal­ton McGuinty also en­gaged for­mer On­tario min­is­ter Alvin Curl­ing and re­tired On­tario chief jus­tice Roy McMurtry to study the roots of youth vi­o­lence.

They rec­om­mended im­prov­ing men­tal health ser­vices for young peo­ple and stream­lin­ing gov­ern­ment de­part­ments to en­sure bet­ter ac­cess to pro­grams.

Among the spec­ta­tors in the packed court­room for the first day of the trial was Man­ners’ mother, Loreen Small, who sat slumped over lis­ten­ing to the de­tails of her son’s death.

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