Sarnia peer pleads not guilty to second-degree murder in senior’s 2021 death

Sarnia peer pleads not guilty to second degree murder in seniors

Two Sarnia men pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder as a long-awaited trial in the 2021 death of a senior in his Devine Street home opened Tuesday.

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Allen Schairer, 62, was found by police during a welfare check on Jan. 26, 2021 in the house where he lived alone near Tecumseh Park.

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Joshua Tomlinson, then 35, and Noah Brown, then 28, were later arrested that week and charged with first-degree murder. Those charges were reduced later to second-degree murder, but police added other charges including breaking and entering.

Allen Schairer (Obituary)

Their joint jury trial, supposed to start in May 2023, was delayed nearly a year due in part to a pre-trial motion from one of their lawyers.

As the five-week trial began Tuesday, Tomlinson, now 38, and Brown, 31, pleaded not guilty to the murder and break-and-enter charges. The pair, looking much different after spending three-plus years in custody, stood side by side in the prisoner’s box before about 150 prospective jurors.

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A total of 20 – 14 jurors and six alternates – were to be selected before the case was adjourned Tuesday. The first witness will take the stand Wednesday.

Sarnia homicide probe
Sarnia police are investigating a homicide at a home on Devine Street on Jan. 27, 2021, a day after a man was found dead. Photo by Paul Morden /The Observer

Police were tight-lipped after Schairer’s body was found in January 2021, releasing nothing about cause of death, possible weapons or alleged motives.

Superior Court Justice Michael McArthur told the jury pool Tuesday Schairer died of injuries he received during a break-in, adding the case involved drug use.

David Rows, who was Lambton’s Crown attorney in 2021, is prosecuting the case. Sarnia defense lawyer Terry Brandon is representing Tomlinson and Brampton lawyer Michael Moon is defending Brown.

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

The case was one of five local homicide investigations in the first 27 days of 2021 – part of an unusually deadly two years in Sarnia-Lambton – prompting a groundswell of fear from residents and police to warn the public to lock their windows and doors.


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