Jury trial begins for accused Edson killer allegedly obsessed with his 14-year-old victim

Hours before the sun came up on March 4, 2016, 21-year-old Tyrell Perron allegedly stood over a sleeping 14-year-old girl with a black folding knife in his hand.

Inside the dark Edson apartment living room illuminated only by the light of a television screen, he allegedly stabbed her in the neck repeatedly.

Perron is charged with the first-degree murder of the teen, who can only be identified by the initials D.H. due to a court-ordered publication ban. He is also accused of offering an indignity to her dead body.

A three-week jury trial began Monday in Hinton with an opening statement from Crown prosecutor Phil LeFeuvre.

“Much of the evidence in this case will be difficult to hear and see,” LeFeuvre warned. “You will hear and see disturbing things.”

He told the jury that after Perron stabbed the teen, he smothered her with a pillow, then sexually assaulted her.

“Tyrell Perron had been thinking about killing [D.H.] for a while,” LeFeuvre said. “In fact, Mr. Perron stood over [her] the night before and contemplated killing her.”

The prosecutor said Perron had become obsessed with the 14-year-old.

So far, the jury hasn’t been told why.

‘I thought she was having a night terror’

On the last day she was alive, D.H. skipped her Grade 9 classes to hang out and smoke pot with her friends. Then around 6 p.m. she headed over to the Brian Manor apartment building in Edson. Three people lived in that third-floor apartment: Cora Fredericks, her boyfriend Derrick Hankins and Hankins’ best friend, Tyrell Perron.

The Edson apartment building where D.H. was killed on March 4, 2016. (RCMP/Court exhibit )

Fredericks told the jury D.H. often stayed at their place overnight and usually slept on the living room couch. On March 3, 2016, the four of them sat in the living room watching movies and passing around a bong filled with marijuana.  She said they were all feeling, “relaxed and happy”.

Hankins worked the overnight shift at an Edson 7-11 convenience store. He left to go to work around 11:30 p.m. and Fredericks said she fell asleep.

She woke up abruptly at 4:40 a.m. to the sound of D.H.’s screams coming from the living room.

“I was a little bit concerned because I thought she was having a night terror,” Fredericks testified. “When it became frequent I went into the living room to go check on her.”

Cora Fredericks was a roommate of the accused who testified as a Crown witness on day two of the murder trial. (Facebook )

Fredericks said she saw her friend laying on the couch with Perron pinning her down and holding a pillow over her face.

“It looked like she was kind of struggling, moving her legs, trying to get her legs out,” Fredericks told the jury.

Despite that and the ongoing screams, she didn’t think her friend was in any danger.

“I was asking Ty if everything was okay,” Fredericks testified, “if he needed help, because it looked like he was trying to stop her from hurting herself.”

She said Perron “harshly” told her to go back to her room.

The prosecutor asked what was going through her mind at the time.

“I thought she was having a night terror and he had it all under control,” Fredericks said. “I turned and went back to my room. I didn’t think anything of it.”

Fredericks fell back asleep and woke up around 8 a.m. when her boyfriend returned home from work.

They both went into the living room, but neither realized D.H. was dead on the couch, covered with a blanket.

The bloody crime scene after the victim’s body was removed. Exhibit 10 is the knife that was allegedly used to stab D.H. (RCMP/Court exhibit )

“When we got into the living room all I noticed was that there’s a big blood puddle at the corner of the far end of the couch,” Fredericks said.

She said she thought D.H. must have had “a really bad nose bleed”, and they decided to let her keep sleeping while they went out to visit a friend.

She didn’t clean up the blood. 

When the couple returned around 9:30 a.m., they figured it was time to wake up D.H.

“I shake her arm. Say it’s time to get up,” Fredericks said. “I don’t get a response. We couldn’t wake her up.”

She thought her friend’s arm was floppy. Her boyfriend pulled back the blanket over D.H.’s head and discovered the awful truth.

They found Perron sitting inside a storage closet in the apartment. The two men had a brief conversation. Fredericks overheard Perron telling a “joke”.

She heard him say, “What’s the difference between a dead 14- ear-old girl and a Ferrari?” with the punchline, “We don’t have a Ferrari.”

Police called to the scene

Perron left the apartment, the couple gathered up all their evidence of drug use to remove it from the apartment, then Hankins called 911.

He also moved D.H.’s body from the couch to the floor.

Fredericks began to cry on the witness stand as she looked at a crime scene photo of her dead friend on the living room floor.

An autopsy later revealed D.H. died of smothering and of a stab wound to the neck that perforated her carotid artery. The 14-year-old’s body was covered with bruises and scratches.

There was DNA evidence collected that showed Perron had sexually assaulted the teen.

The alleged murder weapon is a black folding knife that police discovered below a couch cushion on the sofa where D.H. was stabbed. (RCMP/Court exhibit )

The victim’s DNA was also found on a knife, discovered by police below a cushion on the same couch where D.H. was killed.

“DNA evidence will show that Mr. Perron attempted to hide a bloody t-shirt at his mom’s apartment,” the prosecutor said in his opening statement. “The DNA on the shirt shows that the blood came from [D.H.].”

Perron was arrested and charged with first-degree murder the same day D.H. died.

The jury has been told that the very next day Perron confessed to police he was responsible for the crime. The ten men and three women will watch the videotaped confession near the end of the Crown’s case.

“In that interview, you will see the accused confess to killing and sexually assaulting [D.H.]”, LeFeuvre said.

“You will also hear that the accused had been thinking about doing this for awhile.”

The Crown plans to call almost two dozen witnesses.

Perron’s best friend, Derrick Hankins, is expected to testify Wednesday.



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Sherwood Park

Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area.[7] It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary,[8] generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road).[9] Other portions of Sherwood Park extend beyond Yellowhead Trail and Wye Road, while Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) separates Refinery Row to the west from the balance of the hamlet to the east.[9]

Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016,[6] Sherwood Park has enough people to be Alberta’s seventh largest city, but technically retains the status of a hamlet. The Government of Alberta recognizes the Sherwood Park Urban Service Area as equivalent to a city.

History

Sherwood Park, originally named Campbelltown, was founded by John Hook Campbell and John Mitchell in 1953 when the Municipal District of Strathcona No. 83 approved their proposed development of a bedroom community east of Edmonton. The first homes within the community were marketed to the public in 1955. Canada Post intervened on the name of Campbelltown due to the existence of several other communities in Canada within the same name, so the community’s name was changed to Sherwood Park in 1956.
Geography

The Sherwood Park Urban Service Area is located in the Edmonton Capital Region along the western edge of central Strathcona County adjacent to the City of Edmonton.[8] The majority of the community is bound by Highway 16 (Yellowhead Highway) to the north, Highway 21 to the east, Highway 630 (Wye Road) to the south, and Anthony Henday Drive (Highway 216) to the west. The Refinery Row portion of Sherwood Park is located across Anthony Henday Drive to the west, between Sherwood Park Freeway and Highway 16. Numerous developments fronting the south side of Wye Road, including Wye Gardens, Wye Crossing, Salisbury Village and the Estates of Sherwood Park, are also within the community. Lands north of Highway 16 and south of Township Road 534/Oldman Creek between Range Road 232 (Sherwood Drive) to the west and Highway 21 to the east are also within the Sherwood Park urban service area.

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