Man liv­ing in base­ment apart­ment calmly told 911 vic­tim had been stabbed

Wit­ness says mur­der ac­cused ad­mit­ted at­tack­ing own son

Ottawa Citizen - - CITY - AEDAN HELMER ahelmer@postmedia.com Twit­ter.com/ helmera

Alain Cha­put was ly­ing in bed watch­ing a game show when his friend and room­mate John Mcrae knocked on the bed­room door and told him he had just stabbed his own son.

“Call 911,” Cha­put re­called Mcrae say­ing, as he tes­ti­fied Tues­day in Mcrae’s sec­ond-de­gree mur­der trial. “I just stabbed Mike.”

It was around 6:30 p.m. on July 7, 2015. Cha­put and Mcrae, now 73, had been drink­ing at a neigh­bour­hood pub be­fore they re­turned to the apart­ment they shared with Mcrae’s 51-year-old son Michael at 6632 Notre Dame in Or­léans.

Cha­put, now 59, told court he had been work­ing for about two years mow­ing lawns with the elder Mcrae, who he had known for 20 years.

Cha­put moved into the apart­ment about two or three months be­fore the killing and took up a bed­room across the hall­way from Mcrae, while Michael Mcrae slept on the liv­ing room couch.

Crown pros­e­cu­tors say Mcrae stabbed his son as he lay passed out on the couch fol­low­ing an ar­gu­ment ear­lier that day, one which Cha­put tes­ti­fied he wit­nessed.

Mcrae has pleaded not guilty to sec­ond-de­gree mur­der. His trial is ex­pected to last seven weeks.

The jury of eight women and four men heard Cha­put on the record­ing of the 911 call played in court Tues­day, his voice calm, quiet and mono­tone as he told the dis­patcher, in French, that Michael Mcrae had been stabbed.

When the 911 dis­patcher asked if he could wake the man, Cha­put replied that he thought Mcrae was just drunk, and said he could hear the man snor­ing. Cha­put ac­knowl­edged in court he was in­tox­i­cated that day and had only par­tial rec­ol­lec­tion of the events.

“Just can­cel all that,” he told the dis­patcher. “If there’s some­thing else I will call you back.”

Cha­put was on the line with 911 two min­utes later. In the sec­ond call, read into court by an in­ter­preter, Cha­put told the dis­patcher he had just seen John Mcrae cov­ered in blood.

“I saw Johnny in his bed­room. He was full of blood and I said, ‘What did you do?’ He said, ‘I just stabbed Mike. Call 911.’ ”

Cha­put told court he also no­ticed the large blood-stained kitchen knife on Mcrae’s bed­side ta­ble, and told Crown pros­e­cu­tor Marie Du­fort he rec­og­nized it as the same knife shown in crime scene pho­tos taken by po­lice later that day.

He then re­turned to the liv­ing room and turned Michael Mcrae over, when he no­ticed the blood. He had been stabbed twice in the ab­domen and his throat was slashed.

Cha­put, feel­ing “ner­vous,” he tes­ti­fied, made his way out­side the apart­ment to hold the door open for paramedics.

Ot­tawa po­lice Sgt. Jeff Aylen, the first of­fi­cer to ar­rive, tes­ti­fied ear­lier in the trial that Cha­put told him his room­mate had just been stabbed by the man’s fa­ther.

Aylen also saw the blood-stained blade when he en­tered the apart­ment, gun drawn, and found John Mcrae still sit­ting on the bed.

“That’s the knife,” Mcrae told the of­fi­cer.

The de­fence is ex­pected to re­volve around Mcrae’s state of ine­bri­a­tion at the time, and the phys­i­cal threat he felt from his son.

Cha­put told court he and Mcrae drank at two bars that af­ter­noon and re­turned to the apart­ment, where they en­coun­tered Michael Mcrae and two other men sit­ting out­side on lawn chairs drink­ing beer.

Johnny and his son be­gan ar­gu­ing about rent, Cha­put said, and he be­lieved Mike owed his fa­ther money. John Mcrae’s name was on the apart­ment lease, and he was re­spon­si­ble for the rent, Cha­put tes­ti­fied.

“He got up and pushed Johnny to the ground,” Cha­put said. “He had a hard time get­ting up, but he got up and Mike pushed him down again.”

Cha­put tes­ti­fied he couldn’t re­call de­tails of the ar­gu­ment, now more than two years later.

“I hate ar­gu­ments, I don’t lis­ten to them,” he told court.

He later read the state­ment he gave to po­lice on the day of the killing but said the state­ment did not as­sist him in re­call­ing de­tails of the day.

“Mike said, ‘You’re no good for f--- all,’ ” Cha­put read from his state­ment to po­lice. “You’re bet­ter dead and I’ll f---ing kill you one day.’ ”

Cha­put said Tues­day he re­mem­bered Mcrae be­ing “pissed off ” as he and his son parted ways.

Cha­put went in­side to cook din­ner, telling Mcrae to “go to bed and ev­ery­thing will be OK in the morn­ing.”

He said he heard noth­ing over the noise of the tele­vi­sion and didn’t see John Mcrae again un­til he knocked on the bed­room door. The trial con­tin­ues Wed­nes­day.

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