Peter Khill, was found not guilty of second-degree murder for shooting and killing Jon Styres in Feb. 2016. Styres’ spouse and two daughters are suing him for more than $2 million. (Colin Perkel/Canadian Press) Peter Khill, who was acquitted of murder after he killed a Six Nations man on his property, has filed a statement of defence in a more than $2 million civil suit brought by the man’s spouse and two young daughters.
In court documents filed on Nov. 2, the Hamilton-area homeowner denies Jon Styres’ family suffered the injuries, losses and damages described in their statement of claim and rejects most of the other points raised in the suit filed by Hamilton’s Hooper Law Offices.
Khill, a former Canadian Forces reservist, admitted he shot and killed Styres in Feb. 2016. He was found not-guilty of second-degree murder in June after a two-week trial in Hamilton Superior Court.
Khill’s statement of defence takes the same position as he did in his criminal trial, that he fired in self-defence. His civil case defence also claims he felt an "immediate threat of death and/or serious bodily harm" to both him and his wife when he woke up around 3 a.m., saw someone had broken into his truck, and grabbed a 12 gauge shotgun.
The defence rejects the lawsuit’s claim Khill fired "suddenly and without warning" and that he intentionally shot to kill the 29-year-old man from Ohsweken on the Six Nations of the Grand River reserve as he "fled."
The direction Styres was facing when he was shot was a point of contention during the criminal trial, with prosecutors arguing blood spatter evidence showed he was facing toward the truck and the defence claiming he was facing away. Investigators marked 74 separate specks of blood inside the passenger side of Peter Khill’s truck. (Ministry of the Attorney General) In his statement, Khill says he knew a garage door opener in his truck could be used by Styres to gain access to the house leaving him to fear a "potentially armed home invasion" was imminent.
The defence adds Styres was "acting in a menacing and or threatening way."
In their lawsuit, Styres’ family said Khill made no attempt to contact the authorities before confronting him. But in his statement, Khill denies this, despite testifying during the criminal trial that his actions that night were dictated by his military training, which did not include calling 911.
None of the allegations in the suit have been tested in civil court.
Brian Simo, the lawyer representing Khill, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on his client’s defence. Khill claimed self-defence
In the criminal trial, a jury found Khill, who is white, not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter in Styres’ death.
The former military reservist never denied firing the two close-range shotgun blasts that killed the First Nations man, but said he pulled the trigger because he was following his training and believed Styres was armed with a gun. Khill never denied shooting Styres twice with this 12 gauge shotgun at close range, but maintains he fired is self-defence. (Ministry of the Attorney General) Court heard Styres did not have a gun. He did have a folding knife, but it was closed and found by police in the pocket of his pants.
Public reaction to the verdict was deeply divided. Some some supported the decision, while others pointed to race as factor in the jury’s decision despite each juror being screened for bias during the selection process.
The case drew comparisons the death of Colten Boushie, a 22-year-old from the Red Pheasant Cree Nation, who was shot and killed by Gerald Stanley, a […]
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