Witness describes chilling scene as trial for murder of grocery clerk begins
Published Friday, September 8, 2017 10:55AM EDT
Last Updated Sunday, September 10, 2017 2:32PM EDT
Chilling testimony was heard at the opening of 21-year-old Randy Tshilumba's trial for murder.
Tshilumba is accused of killing Clemence Beaulieu-Patry, 20, while she was working at the Maxi store in St. Michel in April 2016.
Dozens of customers and employees were on the premises at the time of the attack.
Pascale Nadege-Joseph was one of the first to testify.
In court she explained how her routine trip to the grocery store became horrifying.
Nadege-Joseph described how she saw a man, who she later identified as Tshilumba, arguing with a young employee.
She saw Beaulieu-Patry turn away, only to see Tshilumba grab her from behind as he pulled out a large knife -- what she called a machete.
Nadege-Joseph said she screamed out loud "What are you doing?” only to watch in horror as Tshilumba stabbed Beaulieu-Patry multiple times.
Eyewitness yelled: "What are you doing". Tries to shield her own daughter from seeing what was happening.— Stéphane Giroux (@SGirouxCTV) September 8, 2017
Nadege-Joseph said Tshilumba held Beaulieu-Patry as the young woman collapsed on the ground.
Nadege-Joseph said the attack happened very quickly, and she screamed out to her husband, Jean-William Lahens, as she saw the attack.
Other witnesses and employees yelled, “He’s killing her!” as the assailant fled the store.
Lahens was one of several who gave chase, and Nadege-Joseph said he screamed "Hey you sick man, what are you doing?" as he ran after Tshilumba, who managed to get outside before anyone caught him.
Nadege-Joseph testified she then went to the victim to discover her bleeding heavily from deep cuts to her wrists, neck, and chest.
Upon hearing the testimony, many people inside the courtroom began crying, and some spectators walked out of the room. Beaulieu-Patry’s mother became extremely emotional at hearing the gruesome details.
Crown prosecutor Catherine Perreault told the jury the accused stabbed Beaulieu-Patry 14 times with a hunting knife he brought to the store.
Perreault said Tshilumba had been rebuffed a week earlier as he tried to get the victim's phone number in order to ask her out. The two attended high school together but did not have a relationship.
She said the evidence will show Tshilumba hid inside a women's washroom at a nearby Tim Hortons and later hid his clothes and the weapon inside his locker at the CEGEP he attended.
The Crown alleges Tshilumba searched the Internet the day after the slaying to see what had been reported and to find out how to discard evidence.
A jury of seven men and five women is hearing the case at the Quebec Superior Court trial presided by Justice Helene Di Salvo.
The trial is expected to last five weeks.
If convicted, Tshilumba could face life in prison with no chance of parole for 25 years.