Lawyer’s illness pushes Sarnia murder trial to Monday

Lawyers illness pushes Sarnia murder trial to Monday

No new evidence was called Friday in a Sarnia second-degree murder trial after an ailing defense lawyer couldn’t make it to court.

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“Given his situation, we’re not going to be able to begin today,” Superior Court Justice Michael McArthur told the 14-person jury shortly after they sat down.

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The goal is to return Monday, he said, but with a tweaked schedule to give jurors a chance to see the much-anticipated solar eclipse.

McArthur said he noticed fellow Superior Court Justice Thomas Heeney planned to give the jury in the trial of a London couple charged with sexually abusing their own children a break Monday afternoon to see the rare event and wanted to do the same.

Sarnia police investigate a homicide at a Devine Street home on Jan. 27, 2021, a day after a man was found dead there. (Paul Morden/The Observer Files) Paul Morden

When the trial resumes, Jessica Hales, the longtime on-and-off partner of Noah Brown, is expected to return to the stand.

Brown, 31, and Joshua Tomlinson, 38, pleaded not guilty this week to second-degree murder and breaking and entering, kicking off what’s expected to be a five-week trial.

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Hales testified Thursday Brown didn’t seem himself while looking through a bag of expensive camera equipment on the evening of Jan. 26, 2021, and went white and looked like he’d passed out when a person she was video chatting asked if she’d heard about the murder on Devine Street.

Allen Schairer
Allen Schairer (Obituary)

Tea body of Allen Schairer, 62, was found by police doing a welfare check at his Devine Street home about 1:30 pm that day after finding his 2012 Hyundai Elantra abandoned on Sarnia’s outskirts. The avid photographer’s body was found in his bathtub with multiple stab wounds, the prosecutor said in his opening statement.

David Rows, Lambton’s former Crown attorney, also told the jury Dr. Michael Shrum, the forensic pathologist who performed the autopsy, will testify he found three stab wounds – one to each side of his chest and another to his chin – that caused major internal trauma, and ultimately, his death.

In addition to Hales, OPP Det.-Const. Rob Carruthers, who did the welfare check three years ago, and Bryan Schairer, the deceased’s brother, have testified so far.

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