Testimony at the Tyrell Perron first-degree murder trial on Thursday focused on the love life of the 14-year old victim.
One witness was Jeremy Kolish, a man she once lived with, who was eight years older than her. The other witness, Skyler Belcourt, was possibly the last person, other than her killer, to see her alive.
The victim’s name is protected by a court-ordered publication ban. She can only be identified by her initials, D.H.
Perron is charged with her first-degree murder. The jury has been told he stabbed D.H. repeatedly in the neck on March 4, 2016, smothered her with a pillow, then sexually assaulted her. Perron is also charged with offering an indignity to a dead body.
Belcourt, now 20, testified he only knew D.H. for a week before she was killed. On the last night she was alive, they met at a playground in Edson.
Text messages entered into evidence show that Belcourt, identified by the username “Cutie!!!*”, texted D.H. at 11:40 p.m. on March 3, 2016 to say, “Hey what’s up?” He asked to meet her in half an hour and she agreed.
Belcourt testified they spent about an hour in the playground, sitting on a bench, smoking cigarettes and talking.
When Belcourt was interviewed by RCMP the day after the murder, he said D.H. got a text while they were together, then stood up and asked him to walk her to a party. He said he walked her to a man named Jeremy’s house, was introduced to Jeremy, gave D.H. a hug and said good-bye.
Shortly after they parted, D.H. texted Belcourt to say, “I had a good night seeing you.” At 3:27 a.m., she wrote, “Have a good night. I’m going to bed. Text me when you wake up. Night cutie.”
The jury has been told another person in the apartment where she was sleeping heard her screams just over an hour later, at 4:40 a.m.
‘He said he was a witch’
Belcourt told RCMP he had met D.H.’s friend Jeremy once before, when he was with some friends.
“That Jeremy kid walked in and he just sat down,” Belcourt said. “He was just sitting there doing this weird hand gesture.”
Belcourt said Jeremy told him he needed to concentrate because he was doing a ritual. Belcourt wanted to know why.
“He said he was a witch. He just said the only way to sacrifice is they have to be well not young, but they’re either like a virgin…The best way to sacrifice is to break their neck.”
Belcourt told RCMP the story was significant to him because D.H. was living with Jeremy at the time.
When Jeremy Kolish testified Thursday, he was asked to describe his relationship with the much younger D.H.
“We were definitely good acquaintances and whatnot,” he said. “We were definitely seeing each other for a little bit there.”
The 25-year-old said he began “seeing” D.H. in January 2016 in a relationship that lasted between six to eight weeks. Kolish told the jury D.H. moved into his condo, but admitted the relationship was difficult.
“She just wasn’t listening to rules,” Kolish testified. “She’d be coming home at one in the morning drunk. My rules were be home by nine, get ready for school in the morning.”
D.H. was in Grade 9 at the time. Kolish was 22-years-old.
Defence lawyer Derek Anderson asked, “You weren’t concerned about the age difference?”
“I definitely was, but what makes you happy makes you happy,” Kolish answered.
He admitted he was also concerned about the criminal consequences of their relationship, but described D.H. as being his “cuddle buddy.”
“That’s really all we were,” Kolish said. “We got along. We understood each other. She would sleep in the same bed and that’s that. Just sleeping.”
Without going into detail, Kolish indicated the relationship ended badly.
He said he had just moved to Fort McMurray when he got the news that D.H. was dead.
“I was really sad,” Kolish said. “I never got a chance to say goodbye. There were some things I said to her I wish I hadn’t. I never got a chance to say sorry.”
In testimony that appeared to conflict with what court heard earlier, Kolish said he thought he had moved away from Edson a few days before D.H. was murdered. But he unable to pinpoint the exact day.
‘I’m not some sick guy’
Kolish was friends with the accused and said he met with Perron the night before he moved away.
“We definitely had a heart to heart,” Kolish told the jury. “We just hung out and we had a good little cry too.”
Kolish testified Perron told him, “He’s definitely ready to snap and he’s tired of a lot of things.”
The defence lawyer asked Kolish, “Did you ever tell anyone about a sacrifice situation involving a young girl or a virgin and breaking her neck?”
“No,” Kolish said emphatically. “That’s pretty much what Tyrell said the night before he helped me move.”
“I’m not some sick guy,” he added.
“I don’t think he would have done it, but I guess he did,” Kolish said on the witness stand.
The trial continues.
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Sherwood Park is a large hamlet in Alberta, Canada within Strathcona County that is recognized as an urban service area. It is located adjacent to the City of Edmonton’s eastern boundary, generally south of Highway 16 (Yellowhead Trail), west of Highway 21 and north of Highway 630 (Wye Road). 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.
Sherwood Park was established in 1955 on farmland of the Smeltzer family, east of Edmonton. With a population of 70,618 in 2016, 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.
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.
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. 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.