Man convicted of murder with a van after losing a street fight
A jury took just a few hours to convict Ayubullo Mohammad-Daud of first-degree murder for using a stolen van as a weapon to strike and kill a man shortly after the two clashed on a downtown Toronto street.
Steven Doyle, 27, died Aug. 15, 2016, after Mohammad-Daud made good on his promise to return to George St. a half-hour after Doyle got the better of him in a brawl. Mohammad-Daud stole a van and drove there “to even the score, to retaliate, to seek revenge,” prosecutor Karen Simone told the jury during her closing arguments.
Jurors retired late Thursday afternoon and returned with a verdict mid-Friday morning that was met with relief in court by members of Doyle’s family. Mohammad-Daud received an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for 25 years.
During the trial, the jury did not see or hear some of the 23-year-old’s courtroom antics, which included climbing under the counsel table, threatening to kill himself, crying and claiming he didn’t know where he was.
Simone told Superior Court Justice Ed Then the young man was “malingering” — that the whole act was a put-on.
His behaviour forced a pause in the trial when the judge ordered Mohammad-Daud be sent for a psychiatric as- sessment. He was evaluated by a doctor who found him mentally fit to remain on trial — a conclusion reached by doctors in two previous evaluations.
While his lawyer, Lois Pineau, conceded her client killed Steven Doyle, she said it was unintentional and therefore manslaughter, not murder. Mohammad-Daud testified he was not the kind of person who would deliberately run over someone.
That opened the door to Simone crossexamining him about pleading guilty recently to dangerous operation of a motor vehicle causing bodily harm. In an agreed statement of facts shared with the jury, Mohammad-Daud admitted he had deliberately tried to run over two construction workers while behind the wheel of a stolen car.
Mohammad-Daud is currently serving a six-year sentence in that case after pleading guilty to driving straight at the two men. Despite this, Mohammad-Daud testified at his murder trial the two men “accidentally” jumped in front of his vehicle.
During her closing argument, Simone urged jurors not to be fooled by his demeanour and testimony, during which he smirked, jumped around in his seat and repeatedly called Simone a liar.
“He knows exactly what he is doing ... just like he knew exactly what he was doing that day,” she said during her closing.
Ayubullo Mohammad-Daud, 23, left, had testified in court he “accidentally lost control” when he killed Steven Doyle, 27, with a van. The jury disagreed.