Third trial begins in Jonathan Styres case

A third trial has begun against a Binbrook man accused of murdering Six Nations man Jonathan Styres during an attempted truck theft in 2016.

Peter Khill is facing trial for the third time in the shooting death of Styres after the first trial ended in acquittal but a supreme court upheld an appeal of that acquittal.

The second trial came to an abrupt end last week after a judge believed a juror was biased for having community involvement with Hamilton police.

Styres, 29, was fatally shot on Feb. 4, 2016 around 3 a.m. on Khill’s property just outside of Hamilton, Ont. The Six Nations man was attempting to break into a truck on the property when Khill grabbed a gun from his closet, loaded it and “quietly” went outside and shot Styres, according to a supreme court judgement.

The judgment said that Khill went outside, saw someone leaned over the passenger seat, yelled, “hey, hands up” and then fatally shot Styres.

Khill approached Styres after shooting him and searched him for a gun but only found a pocket knife, the judgment noted.

Khill said he acted in self-defense and believed Styres had a gun. A jury acquitted Khill of second-degree murder and the Crown appealed the decision.

In this case, the jury was not properly instructed to consider Khill’s actions, which the Supreme Court judgment noted was a “serious error.”

“Mr. Khill’s role in the incident should have been expressly drawn to the attention of the jury,” Justice Sheilah Martin said in her judgment. “The absence of any explanation concerning the legal significance of Mr. Khill’s role in the incident was a serious error.”

Khill was acquitted of second-degree murder in June 2018.

A new jury was selected last Friday for the third trial.

Six Nations Elected Council Chief Mark Hill said Styres’ family and friends are in their thoughts as they endure a third trial.

Coun. Michelle Bomberry has been present in the court to support the family.

Elected Council said it plans to follow the case closely as they “demand justice for Jonathan Styres and an equitable system worthy of our people’s trust.”

Council said it will be making a statement regarding the trial but it was not released by press time.

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