Manitoba

Trial reveals details of deadly stabbing outside Winnipeg 7-Eleven, but no cause for fight that killed teen

After a trial that lasted more than a week, it’s still unclear exactly what started a 2021 fight outside a 7-Eleven store that left a teenager dead and a man with a perforated lung.

Clayton Marcano is charged with 2nd-degree murder in stabbing death of 17-year-old Andy Joseph McKay

A police cruiser near a crime scene behind a 7-Eleven store.
Police said in July 2021 that they responded to an assault behind a 7-Eleven convenience store, where they found two people injured. Andy Joseph McKay, 17, later died in hospital. Clayton Marcano was treated for his injuries and charged with second-degree murder. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

WARNING: This story contains disturbing details.

After a trial that lasted more than a week, it's still unclear exactly what started a 2021 fight outside a Winnipeg 7-Eleven store that left a teenager dead and a man with blood "spurting" from a sliced artery.

During closing arguments on Tuesday, Manitoba Court of King's Bench heard that the altercation between Andy Joseph McKay, 17, and Clayton Marcano, now 41, began after McKay and two friends went to the vendor window of the Salter Street convenience store to buy drinks just after 1 a.m. on July 28, 2021.

Police said at the time they responded to an assault behind the convenience store, where they found two people injured. McKay died in hospital, while Marcano was treated for his injuries and charged with second-degree murder.

Court heard McKay and his friends struck up a conversation with Marcano, a stranger who was already waiting outside the vendor window.

But within minutes, McKay was chasing Marcano with a knife — though nothing was said during the preceding conversation that would have caused that, said defence lawyer Saul Simmonds, citing testimony from one of McKay's friends who was there that night.

Video evidence presented during the trial, which started Jan. 8, showed Marcano then backing away from the group and McKay, along with the others in his group, following Marcano around the corner of the store.

Crown attorney Colin Soul said the video shows Marcano running away and McKay returning toward the store, which he said should have ended the incident. 

A police cruiser near a crime scene in a back lane.
Police blocked off the area around the back of the 7-Eleven store on the corner of Salter Street and Flora Avenue where the incident happened on July 28, 2021. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

But Soul said the video shows Marcano returning with a firearm — which court heard was actually just a pellet gun — and chasing the group with it before searching through vehicles, which the prosecutor alleged was an attempt to find McKay.

Soul said the video showed that when Marcano spotted McKay, the accused chased the group while brandishing the pellet gun, then fired three shots — one of which hit McKay's friend's shoe, the prosecutor said.

The video then shows McKay and Marcano falling to the ground together, where they struggled and rolled around for less than a minute before McKay, who still had his knife, lay motionless on the ground.

During the altercation, Marcano made several "stabbing motions" while on top of McKay, said Soul.

All of that demonstrates that Marcano intended to kill McKay during the altercation, the prosecutor alleged.

Accused tried to protect himself: lawyer

But Simmonds said a police officer who testified about the video during the trial said he couldn't tell if what was described as a "striking" motion on the video actually involved Marcano making contact with McKay by stabbing him.

The lawyer argued Marcano wasn't the aggressor that night, but was trying to defend himself.

Simmonds also noted his client had a knife in his backpack at the time of the incident, but chose not to use it — which he argued indicated Marcano only wanted to scare the group off, not hurt anyone.

The defence lawyer also contended that after the group initially dispersed, it was McKay who restarted the fight by jumping out from a dark hiding place "like a shot" and suddenly attacking Marcano. Simmonds argued that was done to potentially kill Marcano.

Meanwhile, Marcano was treated for his injuries, which included cuts to his head, arm and leg, a stab wound to his back that perforated his lung, and a cut to an artery that caused "spurting" blood, Simmonds said.

A doctor who testified during the trial said there was only one injury — a stab wound to McKay's chest — that would have caused his death, but Simmonds said it's unclear when and how that blow was delivered. 

The defence said Marcano was entitled to take proportionate action to protect his own life — which he said was required in this case. If Marcano hadn't gotten the quick medical response he needed, "you could have had two bodies," said Simmonds.

"Another few minutes and he would have been dead, had Mr. Marcano not taken steps … to try and protect himself."

Court of King's Bench Justice Joan McKelvey reserved her decision until next month.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Caitlyn Gowriluk has been writing for CBC Manitoba since 2019. Her work has also appeared in the Winnipeg Free Press, and in 2021 she was part of an award-winning team recognized by the Radio Television Digital News Association for its breaking news coverage of COVID-19 vaccines. Get in touch with her at caitlyn.gowriluk@cbc.ca.

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