Footprint left on face, jury told Sucker-punch felled man

Footprint left on face, jury told Sucker-punch felled man: Crown Former child actor on trial for murderSucker-punch outside restaurant felled man: Crown

PETER EDWARDS
STAFF REPORTER

A Toronto man stomped on an unconscious stranger’s head outside a restaurant so hard he left a footprint on the victim’s face, a jury was told on the opening day of a second-degree murder trial.

Paramedic Jeff Bays testified he noticed a mark on the face of beating victim Christopher Shelton, 23, after he answered a 911 emergency call from the intersection of Gerrard St. E. and Broadview Ave. shortly after 3:30 a.m. on Nov. 30, 2002.

“It appeared to be a shoeprint,” Bays told court yesterday on the first day of the trial of Tyson Talbot, 32, a former child actor who appeared in the early 1980s on the popular TV show, The Kids of Degrassi Street, playing the role of Billy Martin. When that series morphed into Degrassi Junior High in 1986, Talbot returned to play another character, Jason Cox, but left the show after three episodes.

Bays said Shelton never regained consciousness after being taken to St. Michael’s Hospital. Shelton died later that day.

Crown Attorney John Stupp showed the jury photos of Shelton’s face and noted what appeared to be the zigzag pattern of a shoeprint on his forehead.

The stomp to the face came as Shelton lay motionless on the pavement after Talbot sucker-punched him in the face, Stupp said in his opening address.

Stupp told the jury Shelton’s skull was cracked after Talbot smashed him in the face with his fist after Shelton and two friends left the restaurant.

The force of the punch was so violent that a motorist could hear the sound of Shelton’s head hitting the pavement, Stupp said.

“He heard the sound of his head hitting the pavement even though he was sitting in his car some distance away.”

Stupp told the jury Shelton and two friends did nothing that warranted the attack, after they ate in the same restaurant as Talbot and two women.

Shelton’s friend, Darryl Sharpe, 22, said he had about eight drinks over several hours that night while he, Shelton and another friend went to a couple of bars on Richmond St. and Queen St. W.

Sharpe said Shelton was caught unawares with the hard punch to the face.

“His hands were down at his side,” Sharpe said. “To me, it didn’t look like he was ready for it. … He fell straight back with his hands at his side. …

“His head whip-lashed off the pavement. It made a loud noise.”

Sharpe said he tried to revive his friend but had no success.

“Did he react at all to this?” assistant crown attorney Hugh Craig asked.

“No,” Sharpe replied.

Less than a minute after the sucker-punch, Sharpe said, Talbot attacked again, smashing his friend’s face with his foot.

“It was a stomp,” Sharpe said. “He just came up and stomped him on the head.”

Craig asked Sharpe to get down from the witness box and re-enact the stomp. Sharpe did so, but was visibly upset when Craig asked him to drive his foot on to the courtroom floor with the same force Talbot had used on his friend’s face.

“I don’t really want to,” Sharpe said softly.

The trial continues.

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