Colin John has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder. (file photo)

Colin John has pleaded not guilty to charges of murder and attempted murder. (file photo)

Shirtless stranger loomed over couch and started stabbing, B.C. murder trial hears

Colin John pleads not guilty as trial opens in 2016 Chemainus murder case

The testimony painted a scene like something out of a horror film: a high school student eating lunch with her boyfriend as they watched a movie in his dimly-lit basement suite.

“I heard the dog growl and there was somebody standing behind the couch,” Janelle Guyatt, now 18, said. “He was holding a knife in his hand, above his shoulder. I felt a bad pain at the bottom of my neck.

“Then this shirtless man jumped over the couch and started attacking both of us. Derek was trying to get me out of the way, saying ‘don’t hurt her’ and he attacked Derek.”

‘Derek’ is Derek Descoteau, a 20-year-old man from Chemainus, who was stabbed to death in his home 30 months ago. The second-degree murder trial of the man accused of killing him got underway Monday in Duncan.

Colin John is also facing a count of attempted murder in connection with the attack on Guyatt following a bloody incident in May of 2016 at a residence in the peaceful Vancouver Island community.

Descoteau and Guyatt were both stabbed several times. Descoteau died en route to hospital. Guyatt suffered five knife wounds and spent two weeks in hospital. She is still undergoing treatment for a serious injury that has limited the use of one arm.

RELATED: Descoteau family leans on strong support after double tragedy

On Monday, Guyatt was the first witness called by Crown counsel Ken Paziuk.

She said she and Descoteau were having lunch and watching a movie shortly after noon when a stranger suddenly appeared and started his attack. She struggled to recall certain specifics, but says Descoteau and the shirtless man wound up on the floor as she made her escape, running outside and screaming for help.

“I’d lost a lot of blood and my arm was useless. I tripped going up the stairs and stumbled and ran to the road. I was yelling for help the whole time.

“There was a lady getting groceries out of the back of her car, she didn’t move. I was soaked in blood from the neck down,” she explained in a soft voice in the Duncan courtroom that contained about 20 members of her family and Descoteau’s family.

“A couple minutes later someone else came down from Caswell (Road) and another lady came and she was on the phone. I remember hearing Derek yelling for help.”

She told the court how Descoteau emerged from the house, covered in blood, holding his arm.

“Help, I’m gonna die,” she heard him say.

Moments later, the shirtless man she says attacked them in the basement came out of the house and made his way to where Descoteau was being attended to in the front yard.

Under cross examination from John’s lawyer, Scott Sheets, Guyatt said the man knelt down next to Descoteau, covered in blood, but not aggressive.

Asked by Paziuk if she could identify her attacker, Guyatt turned in the witness box and pointed directly at John who was seated in the prisoner’s box.

Throughout the day, John sat motionless in the box, his head bowed. Before Guyatt took the stand, Sheets and Paziuk informed Justice Lisa Warren that John had requested that he be tried by judge alone, rather than by judge and jury.

Warren agreed to the change and John quietly entered not guilty pleas to both charges.

John appeared heavier than he had been at the time of his arrest in May of 2016. He arrived in court wearing leg irons and a red Vancouver Island Regional Correctional Centre jumpsuit.

The Supreme Court trial continues Tuesday and is expected to last three weeks. The Crown expects to call more than a dozen witnesses.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Pink shirt day was celebrated at Pineridge Elementary School by staff and students in a stand against bullying. Mr. Craig, a work-experience student from Charle Hays Secondary School is seen with students in front of the hearts for kindness board on Feb. 24. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Pineridge students stand against bullying

Prince Rupert students in the pink with kindness

A Prince Rupert neighbourhood on Feb. 23, showing various housing with an apartment building development in the background. Housing advocates in the city say affordable housing is scarce.(Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
Prince Rupert Recruitment campaign creates housing availability debate

“There is a serious disconnect here, with the new recruitment campaign,” - Paul Lagace

FILE – A COVID-19 vaccine being prepared. (Olivia Sullivan/Sound Publishing)
B.C. seniors 80 years and older to get COVID vaccine details over next 2 weeks: Henry

Province is expanding vaccine workforce as officials ramp up age-based rollout

The City of Prince Rupert has received $1 million in provincial funding to assist redevelopment of the waterfront and support the Prince Rupert Waterfront Airport Ferry Landing development project. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)
City to receive part of $20 million for waterfront development

Funding will support the Prince Rupert airport ferry relocation project

B.C. health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry and health minister Adrian Dix wore pink shirts to showcase this year’s motto: “Lift each other up.” (Twitter/PinkShirtDay)
PHOTOS: B.C. celebs take a stand against bullying on Pink Shirt Day

‘We need to let young people know they are not alone and they can reach out to others for help’

(Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. residents can reserve provincial camp sites starting March 8

B.C. residents get priority access to camping reservations in province

Two women were arrested in Nanaimo for refusing to wear masks and causing disturbance on a BC Ferries vessel. (File photo)
B.C. ferry passengers arrested and fined for disturbance, refusing to wear masks

Police said woman threatened their pensions in Feb. 21 incident aboard Nanaimo-bound boat

When his owner had knee surgery, Kevin, 2, was able to continue to go for walks thanks to volunteers from Elder Dog Canada. (Contributed photo)
B.C. woman has nothing but praise for Elder Dog Canada

National organization has a fleet of volunteer walkers ready, but needs more clients to serve

Justin Morissette is still recovering from the injuries sustained in the altercation. He is not yet able to walk without assistance. (Justin Morissette, Twitter)
B.C. man suing city and police over violent altercation with anti-LGBTQ preacher

Justin Morissette argues police knew the threat the preacher posed, and failed to keep the peace

Mowi Canada West salmon farm in B.C. waters. Conservative MPs have backed an industry call for further discussions on the timeline for closing Discovery Island farms. (Photo supplied by Mowi Canada)
Conservative MPs back B.C. salmon farmers’ call for transparent discussions

Farm owners requested consultations, more time to leave Discovery Islands

Jack Barnes, who was Cowichan Valley Capitals property from May 2020 until last week, scores a goal for the Penticton Vees during the 2019-20 BCHL season. (Brennan Phillips/Black Press)
COVID-crunched BCHL facing trade deadline dilemma with its 20-year-olds

Hard decisions loom when BCHL may or may not resume play

UBC Okanagan students are among the most food insecure in Canada, according to a new study by UBC.
(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
UBC Okanagan students among most food insecure in Canada

42.3 per cent either can’t properly feed themselves, or are worried they will soon run out of money

Most Read