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.

Just Posted

A person receives a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. Northern Health confirmed it has the lowest vaccination rates amongst the province’s five regional health authorities. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward)
Vaccination rates in Vanderhoof, Fraser Lake, Fort St James well below provincial average

COVID-19 immunization clinics for youth 12+ coming up in Fort St. James

Steve McAdam (left) is studying substrate conditions in the Nechako River and how they impact sturgeon eggs. The work will help design habitat restoration measures, said McAdam. (Rebecca Dyok photo)
Sturgeon egg studies to help inform future habitat restoration

“It’s an interesting, challenging issue,” says Steve McAdam

Saik’uz First Nation Coun. Jasmine Thomas and Chief Priscilla Mueller speak about the need for addiction treatment facility near Vanderhoof, March 2021. (Aman Parhar/Omineca Express)
Vanderhoof addiction treatment centre tries again with ministry support

Agriculture minister insists she is not interfering in land commission

At an outdoor drive-in convocation ceremony, Mount Royal University bestows an honorary Doctor of Laws on Blackfoot Elder and residential school survivor Clarence Wolfleg in Calgary on Tuesday, June 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘You didn’t get the best of me’: Residential school survivor gets honorary doctorate

Clarence Wolfleg receives honorary doctorate from Mount Royal University, the highest honour the school gives out

Flowers and cards are left at a makeshift memorial at a monument outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School to honour the 215 children whose remains are believed to have been discovered buried near the city in Kamloops, B.C., on Monday, May 31, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Pick a Sunday:’ Indigenous leaders ask Catholics to stay home, push for apology

Indigenous leaders are calling on Catholics to stand in solidarity with residential school survivors by not attending church services

“They will never be forgotten, every child matters,” says Sioux Valley Chief Jennifer Bone in a video statement June 1. (Screen grab)
104 ‘potential graves’ detected at site of former residential school in Manitoba

Sioux Valley Dakota Nation working to identify, repatriate students buried near former Brandon residential school

The Queen Victoria statue at the B.C. legislature was splattered with what looks like red paint on Friday. (Nicole Crescenzi/News Staff)
Queen Victoria statue at B.C. legislature vandalized Friday

Statue splattered with red paint by old growth forest proponents

Police cars are seen parked outside Vancouver Police Department headquarters on Saturday, January 9, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Vancouver police officer charged with assault during an arrest in 2019

The service has released no other details about the allegations

Denmark’s Christian Eriksen receives medical attention after collapsing during the Euro 2020 soccer championship group B match between Denmark and Finland at Parken stadium in Copenhagen, Saturday, June 12, 2021. (AP Photo/Martin Meissner, Pool)
Christian Eriksen in stable condition, Euro 2020 match resumes

Eriksen was given chest compressions after collapsing on the field during a European Championship

Members of the Department of Fisheries and Oceans’ Marine Mammal Response Program rescued an adult humpback what that was entangled in commercial fishing gear in the waters off of Entrance Island on Thursday, June 10. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Response Program)
Rescuers free humpback ‘anchored’ down by prawn traps off Vancouver Island

Department of Fisheries and Oceans responders spend hours untangling whale

As stories of the horrors of residential schools circulate after the Tk’emlups te Secwepemc First Nation announced it had located what are believed to be the remains of 215 children, Grand Chief Stewart Phillip of the Union of B.C. Indian Chiefs said he feels a connection with the former students. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
2 sides of the same coin: Ex-foster kids identify with residential school survivors

Grand Chief Stewart Phillip says the child welfare system takes Indigenous children from their families

Most Read