‘Kid’ from Degrassi charged in death
Tyson Talbot was child star ‘with sparkle in his eye’
The National Post
Tuesday, December 03, 2002
TORONTO — A former child star who acted in the CBC television Degrassi series has been charged with murder in connection with the beating death of a man outside a Toronto restaurant on the weekend.
Tyson Stewart Talbot, 30, was arraigned for second-degree murder yesterday and was remanded in custody.
Linda Schuyler, co-creator of the Degrassi shows, said yesterday she was shocked by the arrest. “I’m sickened by it,” Ms. Schuyler said. “It’s shocking and I know it’s just a charge at this point, but even the charge is enough to send shivers down my spine.”
Ms. Schuyler said she cast Mr. Talbot in the series The Kids of Degrassi Street as Billy Martin, the neighbourhood athlete, and later in Degrassi High in the early 1980s.
Police arrested Mr. Talbot shortly after Christopher Shelton, 23, was beaten and kicked in the head as he lay helpless on the ground outside a Chinese restaurant in Toronto’s east end.
He was attacked after getting into an argument with a man accompanied by two women. As Mr. Shelton was leaving the restaurant, he was punched in the head and knocked unconscious. Witnesses say his attacker began to walk away, but returned to kick his victim in the head one last time before fleeing the scene in a taxi.
Mr. Shelton died in hospital from a blunt-force head injury.
David Shelton, the young man’s father, called the beating “an extremely vicious attack on a good boy.”
Ms. Schuyler remembered Mr. Talbot as a child who responded to an open casting call for the first of the many DeGrassi series. “He was personable, funny, warm,” she said. “He just had so much potential.”
She described him as an “excessively cute” boy during his audition for the show 20 years ago. “He had that little sparkle in his eye,” she said. “He was just a really nice kid. He had a tendency to be a little lazy at times and we’d have to push him, but he was just a normal kid.”
In 1986, Mr. Talbot was cast as Jason Cox in Degrassi High, a followup series to The Kids of Degrassi Street. He quit after filming only a few episodes of the first season.
“It was his own doing,” said Ms. Schuyler, “much to his mother’s disappointment.”
She said that as Mr. Talbot grew into a teenager, it was obvious he was becoming a volatile youth. When he left Degrassi High, he gave up a stable environment that had promoted a healthy work ethic, she said.
Ms. Schuyler said she has not been in contact with Mr. Talbot since he left Degrassi High more than 15 years ago.
Since then, Mr. Talbot has compiled an extensive police record, including convictions for robbery, theft, assault, possession of stolen property and escaping custody.