Ter­ror in the stair­well

He lured his vic­tims into a well-known down­town park­ing garage and raped them. He may end up des­ig­nated Hamil­ton’s lat­est dan­ger­ous of­fender

The Hamilton Spectator - - Front Page - SU­SAN CLAIRMONT

HE

EN­TICED BOTH women into the same se­cluded stair­well.

They fol­lowed him down three flights to the des­o­late base­ment of one of Hamil­ton’s busiest park­ing garages. Thick con­crete walls en­sured their cell­phones didn’t work. There was no one to in­ter­rupt them.

They went with him be­cause they wanted drugs.

They wound up get­ting raped by Adriel Johnathan James Cyrus.

He is a convicted sex of­fender. Soon a judge will de­cide if he is also a dan­ger­ous of­fender who may be locked away for­ever.

Only a hand­ful of Hamil­ton crim­i­nals have been bad enough to earn a DO des­ig­na­tion. In all of Canada, there were just 747 DOs at the end of 2017.

These are the most vi­o­lent of­fend­ers with the great­est like­li­hood of re­cidi­vism.

They pose such a risk to pub­lic safety that a judge can hold a hear­ing to de­ter­mine if they should be locked away with no spe­cific re­lease date.

Cyrus, found guilty of threat­en­ing death and two counts of sex­ual as­sault by Jus­tice An­thony Leitch in Fe­bru­ary, may join the du­bi­ous group.

The at­tor­ney gen­eral con­sented to a DO ap­pli­ca­tion, which in­cludes a manda­tory psy­chi­atric as­sess­ment. A hear­ing is in the process of be­ing sched­uled, likely for early next year.

Iden­tity was not an is­sue at trial. Cyrus’s DNA was in his vic­tims — whose iden­ti­ties are pro­tected by a pub­li­ca­tion ban — and he ad­mit­ted hav­ing sex with them.

His de­fence was that the sex was con­sen­sual.

Two strangers met him on the street and agreed to have sex with him in a dirty stair­well just mo­ments later, he claimed.

From Mis­sis­sauga, he was di­ag­nosed with schizophre­nia at 16.

His adult crim­i­nal record be­gan in 2007 with a sex­ual as­sault con­vic­tion. A year later, it was as­sault with a weapon and breach of pro­ba­tion.

In 2010, he was convicted of ut­ter­ing threats. In 2014, sex­ual as­sault and ut­ter­ing threats.

The year af­ter, he was convicted of sex­ual in­ter­fer­ence, a charge per­tain­ing to the touch­ing of peo­ple un­der the age of 16 for a sex­ual pur­pose.

Some­times, like dur­ing his trial in Jan­uary, Cyrus, 32, can be ar­tic­u­late, po­lite and soft-spo­ken.

He chose to be sworn in on the Qur’an. His Face­book page names him as “Adriel X” and he calls him­self a “foot soldier at Na­tion of Is­lam.”

“I am striv­ing to be up­right to him who orig­i­nated the heavens and the earth,” his page says, “and I am an ac­tive mem­ber who is mas­ter­ing be­ing a well-made man and not just a male.”

He de­scribes him­self as a “pro­fes­sional tele­mar­keter.”

Un­der the head­ing “In­ter­ested In” he lists one thing: Women.

At a more re­cent court ap­pear­ance, Cyrus was ag­i­tated and loud. He mut­tered to him­self then flapped his arms and shouted, “I’m get­ting pissed off,” from the pris­oner’s box.

The swing in his be­hav­iour and men­tal state is ex­treme.

His phys­i­cal pres­ence is a con­stant, though. Cyrus prides him­self on his mus­cu­lar body.

He eas­ily over­pow­ered his vic­tims.

AB

WEEPS the mo­ment she takes the wit­ness stand and strug­gles to pull her­self to­gether.

“I got this,” she says.

Her ev­i­dence of what hap­pened Sun­day, June 12, 2016, un­rav­els slowly.

“I wanted drugs,” she be­gins. “Heroin.”

Her usual dealer was in Toronto, but AB’s car broke down, so she went to Jack­son Square in search of a fix. She honed in on the stairs just west of the main doors at King and James. It was late af­ter­noon and she was des­per­ate.

“I wasn’t feel­ing well be­cause I was com­ing off, so I wanted to get more.”

She asked a stranger if he had heroin. He said he did and she told him she wanted to buy $200 worth. She had cash.

He told her the drugs were in a car in a nearby park­ing garage. He would take her.

He was a black man, maybe five­foot-10, short hair, no ac­cent. He wore a grey hoodie with the hood up.

“We walked down King Street. We walked past The Works ... then we crossed.”

As they walked, they smoked a joint the man had.

He told AB, now 30, she was “too young and pretty to be on heroin.”

They en­tered Sum­mers Lane, the short street run­ning from Main to King be­tween FirstOn­tario Con­cert Hall and the Con­ven­tion Cen­tre and the Art Gallery of Hamil­ton.

Just be­hind the AGH there is a brown, heavy door. It leads to con­crete stairs head­ing down, three floors. At the bot­tom is a land­ing and a door with a small win­dow. It opens to a park­ing garage.

Cyrus tells court a friend in­tro­duced him to that stair­well. They drank beer there.

“Ever since then,” he says, “when­ever I wanted to smoke weed or drink or what­ever, pri­vately, I’d go there.”

AB says it was a “se­cluded place.” She saw no cars. No peo­ple. Per­fect for buy­ing drugs.

“We stayed in that stair­well,” she says. “It wasn’t all that big.”

She stood against the wall. The man sat on the stairs. He asked AB if she would have sex with him. Her an­swer was clear.

“No.”

She moved to­ward the door. He stood.

“It doesn’t mat­ter,” AB re­calls him say­ing in a low voice. “I’m gonna get it any­ways.”

“He pushed my shoul­ders against the wall. My head hit the wall. He kind of brought me down to the floor ... At first I tried (to fight him off) and then at a cer­tain point, I just gave up. I don’t know if ‘ac­cepted’ is the right word, but I was just try­ing to get through it. I knew it was go­ing to hap­pen. He had my arms and I didn’t get away. I couldn’t get away.”

She didn’t scream. It seemed point­less.

He kissed her face and neck while he raped her.

Cyrus tells it dif­fer­ently from the wit­ness stand.

“I can’t re­mem­ber if I mo­tioned for her to come over to me or if I guided her by her hand, but she came and she sat on my lap. And while she was sit­ting on my lap I was rub­bing her thighs and kind of ex­plor­ing her, and she did not ... say she wanted me to stop or any­thing like that.”

Cyrus tes­ti­fies he told AB he was on Clop­ixol, an anti-psy­chotic med­i­ca­tion that gave him long-last­ing erec­tions that be­came painful if he didn’t have in­ter­course. (The Crown later pointed out Clop­ixol ac­tu­ally re­duces li­bido.) Cyrus says he asked if AB would have sex with him to alle­vi­ate his prob­lem.

“She said yes. She said she could help me with the prob­lem I was hav­ing and she was will­ing to have sex with me.”

“We had a chem­istry with each other,” he adds.

AB says when Cyrus fin­ished rap­ing her, he pulled his pants up and left out the door into the park­ing lot.

She lay there a mo­ment be­fore get­ting up, dress­ing and as­cend­ing the stairs to Sum­mers Lane.

“I walked home,” she tells court. For the next few hours, she spun. She used all the co­caine in the house. It was a lot.

“I just laid in bed. I was an­gry. I just wanted to not feel sad.”

Po­lice picked her up later, scream­ing at a con­struc­tion site. Of­fi­cers took her to hospi­tal for treat­ment and a rape kit.

“It was hu­mil­i­at­ing,” AB says. “Painful. Scary.”

SD

HOPED to make a new friend. She fin­ished her shift at a down­town tele­mar­ket­ing com­pany and waited for a bus at the cor­ner of James and Main. It was around 8:30 p.m. on Tues­day, Aug. 23, 2016.

SD, now 22, was sit­ting on the curb chat­ting on the phone with her mom when a man she didn’t know asked for a cig­a­rette.

She gave him one and he sat be­side her. They be­gan to talk.

She told him about her job and they dis­cussed sports.

“He went by A.J.,” she tes­ti­fies. “I told him I got off work early and I would love to go home and smoke a spliff be­cause I have got my (med­i­cal mar­i­juana) li­cence. And then he told me he al­ready had a joint rolled up and he had weed and he knew a good place to go and smoke.”

SD had just moved to Hamil­ton and didn’t know many peo­ple. She de­cided to go with A.J.

“I saw it, hope­fully, as an op­por­tu­nity to find some­one as a friend or just a cool per­son to hang out with,” she tells the court.

“He told me that he knew of this spot and it was Sum­mers Lane and it’s right past the art gallery and it’s an un­der­ground park­ing garage.”

He took her there. Brown door. Flight of stairs de­scend­ing. At the bot­tom, a land­ing and a door. Her phone didn’t work there.

“It was very dirty. Very claus­tro­pho­bic. There was a small win­dow on the door, but no­body came.”

It was per­fect for smok­ing weed, she thought.

He sat on the stairs. She took a seat to his right. He rolled a joint and they shared it. They talked about mu­sic, then each had a cig­a­rette.

“He flicked his off the wall. I flicked mine off the wall. Both of our cig­a­rettes ric­o­cheted off the wall and that’s when, all of a sud­den, I got this weird type of glance. A very, very dis­turb­ing one. Like some­thing was go­ing to hap­pen. But I didn’t know what to do. And then all of a sud­den, with his left hand he touched my boob.”

She pushed his hand away and said “No.”

“That’s when he tossed me over and rolled me over onto the ground ... He was on top of me ... I had no way to move.”

Sev­eral times she de­scribes, with ob­vi­ous re­vul­sion, how his cheek was pressed against hers. She strug­gled hard when he tried to kiss her mouth.

SD says A.J. took off her shirt, pulled up her bra, re­moved her shoes, pants and un­der­wear.

“He was butt naked ex­cept for his socks.”

He raped her.

Cyrus’s tes­ti­mony dif­fers. He ad­mits lead­ing her to the same stair­well where he took AB.

“While we were walk­ing there, she was telling me … ‘I like the way you train so hard’ and I was, like, ‘OK, thanks.’ Then she also said she wanted me to come to her home ... While we were walk­ing, as well, I asked her if she wanted to have sex, and she said yes.”

Cyrus says at the bot­tom of the stair­well he told SD: “‘I pre­fer to have sex first and then we can smoke weed.’ And she agreed with me ... She pulled down her pants ... When I ejac­u­lated, we stopped. We went back to the stairs, sat down, were talk­ing and, um, I rolled up some weed ... I told her that I was hun­gry and that I was go­ing to go buy a bur­rito, a beef bur­rito from 7-Eleven.”

He says SD asked if he would “be her guy.”

“That was the lan­guage she used and I said ‘Sure.’ And I asked her if she would be my girl and she said ‘Sure.’”

SD says Cyrus told her to leave the stair­well first. She scram­bled into her clothes. Back on the street she walked briskly. But A.J. caught up to her.

“He came right be­hind me and tried to kiss me. I didn’t want to have any­thing to do with it. He told me not to say any­thing and he grabbed my ass ... He told me he was al­ready on pro­ba­tion ... He was re­cently in Bar­ton jail.” If she told any­one about the sex, “he’d come kill me,” she re­calls him say­ing.

CYRUS

HAS SEVEN sib­lings, some share a father, oth­ers don’t.

His par­ents di­vorced when he was about eight and he lived with his mom, who didn’t have much.

“Things that I wanted, I didn’t re­ally have,” he tells court. “I had to get it my­self in ways I’m not proud of now.”

Cyrus did not fin­ish high school and his mom kicked him out of the house. He was home­less for a bit. He moved to Hamil­ton with his mom five years ago.

It is com­mon for Cyrus to ask ran­dom women for sex and for them to agree, he tes­ti­fies.

“It’s noth­ing new to me. I don’t know, I guess for some in­di­vid­u­als that doesn’t re­ally hap­pen, but for me there’s been mul­ti­ple oc­ca­sions when I meet a fe­male and on the same day we have in­ter­course con­sen­su­ally.”

JUS­TICE LEITCH

de­cided nei­ther woman con­sented to sex with Cyrus and found him guilty of sex­ual as­sault on AB, sex­ual as­sault on SD and ut­ter­ing a death threat to SD.

Leitch points to a num­ber of “sig­nif­i­cant sim­i­lar­i­ties” be­tween the rapes.

In his rea­sons for be­liev­ing the women, Leitch writes: “The im­prob­a­bil­ity of co­in­ci­dence is strong. I find it highly un­likely that two women un­known to one an­other would both con­sent to sex with the ac­cused, within min­utes of first meet­ing him, on a dirty con­crete floor out­side a park­ing garage where they could be dis­cov­ered in the act at any mo­ment.”

Cyrus says he asked if AB would have sex with him to alle­vi­ate his prob­lem. He was di­ag­nosed with schizophre­nia at 16. His adult crim­i­nal record be­gan in 2007 with a sex­ual as­sault con­vic­tion. A year later, it was as­sault with a weapon and breach of pro­ba­tion. In 2010, he was convicted of ut­ter­ing threats. In 2014, sex­ual as­sault and ut­ter­ing threats. Her usual dealer was in Toronto, but AB’s car broke down, so she went to Jack­son Square in search of a fix. She scram­bled into her clothes. Back on the street she walked briskly. But A.J. caught up to her.

Adriel Cyrus calls him­self a “foot soldier at Na­tion of Is­lam.”

GARY YOKOYAMA THE HAMIL­TON SPEC­TA­TOR

Just be­hind the Art Gallery of Hamil­ton, there is a stair­well where sex­ual as­saults oc­curred, vic­tims said. AB called it a “se­cluded place.” She saw no cars. No peo­ple. Per­fect for buy­ing drugs.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Canada

© PressReader. All rights reserved.