Ontario’s highest court upheld the second-degree murder conviction of an Afghan immigrant who nearly decapitated his wife, calling the woman’s death a “horrific” killing in a decision released Wednesday.
Peer Mohammad Khairi, a father of six, had argued that the judge who presided over his trial made several errors, and asked the appeal court for a new trial.
If a fresh trial couldn’t be ordered, Khairi had asked that his period of parole ineligibility — currently set at 15 years after he was sentenced to life in prison — be lowered to 10 or 11 years.
He was turned down by Ontario’s Court of Appeal on both fronts.
“The conviction appeal is dismissed. While we grant leave to appeal the sentence, the sentence appeal is dismissed,” the court’s decision said.
Khairi had admitted to killing his wife in March 2008, it was the circumstances of the death that had been in dispute at his trial, the court noted.
“He contended that he lacked the intent for murder due to mental health issues. Alternatively, he claimed that he stabbed his wife in the heat of passion, caused by her allegedly provocative words and conduct,” the appeal court wrote.
A jury deliberated for three days in 2012 before finding Khairi guilty of second-degree murder.
In his appeal, Khairi argued that the trial judge erred by not declaring a mistrial after what was allegedly an “improper” opening statement from Crown prosecutors, whose effect was allegedly to prevent him from receiving a fair trial. He also claimed the prosecution’s closing address was inflammatory.
The appeal court agreed that the Crown’s opening statement was improper, but found that the trial judge adequately instructed the jury that the Crown’s remarks exceeded the scope of a proper opening statement.
Khairi, who was born in Afghanistan, immigrated to Canada with his wife and children in 2003 after having spent the previous 15 years in India.
The family settled in Toronto but due to the couple’s limited education and inability to speak English, neither of them could find work, court documents have noted.
In 2006, the family had financial troubles and the relationship between Khairi and his wife became strained, the documents said.
WINNIPEG — Experts are recommending a man who beheaded a fellow passenger aboard a Greyhound bus should be transferred from a mental facility to a Winnipeg hospital with an eye to moving him to a community group home.
It’s also being suggested that Vince Li be granted unescorted outings in the city.
Li’s psychiatrist, Dr. Steven Kremer, told a criminal code board review hearing Monday that Li has shown “profound improvement” and is at low risk to reoffend. Risk assessments done by several other doctors came to the same conclusion, the board heard.
Li, 46, has not had any hallucinations in over a year and understands the need to take his medication, Kremer said. Should Li be transferred to a group home, staff there would ensure he continued the medication necessary to manage his schizophrenia, the doctor said.
“His likelihood to re-engage in violence is low.”
Li has been confined to a psychiatric institution north of Winnipeg since he was found not criminally responsible for stabbing, mutilating and beheading McLean on a bus to Winnipeg in July 2008. Li sat next to the 22-year-old McLean after the young man smiled at him and asked how he was doing.
Li said he heard the voice of God telling him to kill the young carnival worker or “die immediately.” Li repeatedly stabbed McLean who unsuccessfully fought for his life. As passengers fled the bus, Li continued stabbing and mutilating the body before he was arrested.
The review board has gradually given Li more freedom, including unescorted visits to Selkirk, Man., and escorted visits to Winnipeg and local beaches.
Li entered the hearing Monday unshackled, sitting and listening quietly while his case was discussed.
The board is expected to issue a decision within a week.
Ken Mackenzie, manager of the forensic mental health program at the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority, told the hearing Li has experienced some public backlash on unescorted outings, but was “able to manage it quite effectively.”
Police say they have arrested a “serial predator” who broke into 59 homes in the Etobicoke area over the last three years and on a number of occasions sexually assaulted women who were sleeping inside.
The suspect’s wife is also facing seven charges in connection with the investigation.
The incidents have taken place in the early morning hours in the eastern and central Etobicoke areas with a large number of them clustered between Bloor Street to the north, The Queensway to the south, Islington Avenue to the west and Royal York Road to the east.
Anieph Fitzroy Burton is shown in a handout photo. Burton is facing 95 charges in connection with a string of Etobicoke break ins and sexual assaults. (Toronto Police)
Though the break-ins have taken place in a period spanning from August, 2011 to August 2014, police say they usually took place in bunches with the suspect often targeting a number of homes in the same neighbourhood.
On one such spree on Sept. 7, 2012 the masked suspect allegedly broke into a home near Bloor Street and Islington Avenue at around 3:10 a.m. and sexually assaulted a sleeping 62-year-old woman before fleeing on foot. About 30 minutes later a man matching the same description allegedly broke into a home near Royal York Road and The Queensway and proceeded to sexually assault a 70-year-old woman asleep inside.
Though many of the victims were alone at the time, others were home with their partners or other family members, leading police to believe that single women were not targeted and that the break ins and sexual assaults were “sometimes a crime of opportunity,” Beaven-Desjardins said.
The arrest of the suspect on Wednesday follows an “exhaustive investigation” and several close calls where the suspect was pursued by officers but not apprehended.
Speaking with reporters on Friday, Beaven-Desjardins said that it is “possible” that the suspect’s wife aided him in fleeing the scene of some of the break-and-enters.
Anieph Fitzroy Burton, 32, of Toronto, was arrested on Wednesday and charged with 95 offences, including 11 counts of sexual assaults, three counts of overcoming resistance by choking, one count of sexual assault causing bodily harm and four counts of assault.
Burton’s wife, 31-year-old Jehanneiry Beaton, was also arrested on Wednesday and charged with six counts of break-and-enter and one count of break-and-enter with intent.
Police say they believe there could be additional victims out there.
“There may be many more victims both in Toronto and across our border into Peel Region,” Beaven-Desjardins said. “We encourage the public to come forth and report any incidents related to this.”
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After a long struggle with post-traumatic stress disorder, a Mountie who witnessed the beheading of a Greyhound bus passenger has taken his own life.
A family member has confirmed that recently-retired RCMP corporal Ken Barker died by suicide last weekend. A total of 13 Canadian first responders have taken their own lives over the past 10 weeks.
Calgary police at the townhouse in the 1500 block of Varsity Dr. N.W. where investigators say six-year-old Kevin Liu, was killed by his mother Yu Mei Lai.
Photograph by: Stuart Gradon , Calgary Herald
Police are calling the deaths of a mother and her young son in Varsity a murder-suicide.
The woman’s husband discovered the bodies of his son, 6, and wife, 39, shortly before 10 p.m. Thursday in his carbon-monoxide filled townhome in the 3500 block of Varsity Drive N.W.
The homicide unit is investigating and believe the boy, Kevin Liu, was killed in the home by his mother, Yu Mei Lai.
Afghan culture clash: Wife killer felt constantly disrespected by family, court hears
Published on Tuesday October 23, 2012
Video: Police interview murder suspect Peer Khairi
A video excerpt from a police interview with Peer Khairi, on trial for murdering his wife Randjida in 2008.
An Afghan immigrant told police he endured years of disrespect from his family, turning him suicidal, and was so stressed by his wife yelling at him during an argument about their son that he stabbed her and slit her throat.