Guilty: Winnipeg jury rejects self-defence argument in bus driver killing

Guilty of second degree murder. That was the verdict handed down in a Winnipeg courtroom just after 5 p.m. Thursday.

The jury took a little over two hours to arrive at their decision in the trial of Brian Kyle Thomas, the man accused of killing Winnipeg Transit driver Irvine Jubal Fraser.

There was no doubt Thomas killed Fraser.  Thomas’ lawyer did not dispute that his client was responsible for Fraser’s death. The question was whether he did it unlawfully, or whether it was self-defence.

With their verdict, the jury indicated that they did not believe the self-defence claim.

Thomas sat staring forward, motionless, blinking as the decision was read aloud.

Fraser’s son was seen holding his head in his hands, wiping away tears.

It was Valentine’s Day 2017 when Fraser threw Thomas off his bus. Thomas had fallen asleep, and refused to leave when Fraser woke him at the end of his route, the last stop on his shift for the night.

The pair argued and the fight escalated, spilling out onto the street outside the bus. Fraser was stabbed six times and died.

Lawyers told jurors two very different stories in their closing arguments.

The Crown said Thomas was armed with a knife and had already known he was going to stab Fraser when he taunted him off the bus.

The Defence said it was actually Fraser who brought the knife to the fight, arguing Thomas was only trying to defend himself.

The 8-man 4-woman jury had been deliberating since 2:30 p.m. They were given three options — they could find Thomas guilty of second degree murder, or of manslaughter or they could find him not guilty.

The decision carries a minimum 10 year sentence before eligibility for parole. The maximum sentence is 25 years.

VIDEO: Dramatic confrontation between slain bus driver and accused on Winnipeg Transit bus

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