Twenty-two-year-old Mohammad Raswoli listened quietly in court, sitting behind his lawyers as a jury, separated by plexiglass and divided into six on either side of the courtroom, returned a verdict of guilty of second-degree murder, after four days of deliberations.
It was Oct. 20, 2018, when Raswoli had an altercation with a stranger named Stephen MacDonald, who was riding up the escalator with his then-girlfriend Kristin Thomas at the Kennedy TTC station.
Witnesses for the Crown and defence testified Raswoli became offended after overhearing MacDonald disrespect his then-girlfriend Kristin Thomas, and words were exchanged.
“Words to the effect, ‘That, if you don’t shut up when we get to the top of the escalator, I’m going to slap your face,’” defence lawyer Christopher Hicks told Global News outside court.
In his closing submissions, Crown prosecutor Paul Kelly told the jury, “No witness says they heard the exact same thing, but from their collective observations, it is obvious that there was an animated, aggressive and and profane verbal interaction between the two men that was taking place.”
Surveillance video played during the trial showed that the fight quickly escalated between Raswoli and MacDonald.
In the video, Raswoli threw the first blow, until Thomas’ brother stepped in and struck Raswoli, causing him to fall to the ground, at which point the two men continued beating him with Thomas entering the fray, kicking him once more.
The video continued with Thomas walking off and Raswoli getting up.
The two were separated and MacDonald was backing away, before Raswoli is seen pulling out a knife and stabbing MacDonald repeatedly.
The jury heard that MacDonald suffered 11 sharp force wounds to the torso, head, neck and face.
Hicks argued that Raswoli was acting out of self-defence, having been provoked and that the jury should find him guilty of manslaughter, but Kelly suggested that Raswoli was angry and rationally set out to do what he wanted to do in a controlled and methodical manner by vicious attacking MacDonald with a knife and settling a score.
“His motive is simply payback, revenge, retribution, whatever you want to call it,” Kelly told the jury in his closing submissions.
Hicks said after the verdict that he is disappointed, believing the jury would find Raswoli guilty of manslaughter.
Raswoli, who has been in custody since the night of the stabbing in October 2020, did not testify at trial.
A sentencing hearing is scheduled for late January.
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.
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