The Crown has filed an appeal notice on Peter Khill’s not-guilty verdict of in the shooting death of Jon Styres.
A spokesperson for the Ontario Attorney General confirmed a Notice of Appeal has been filed, but would not provide further comment as the matter is before the courts.
Styres, a 29-year-old father of two from Six Nations, was shot dead while breaking into a truck on a rural property near Hamilton, Ont. on Feb. 4, 2016.
Khill, the property owner and an ex-military reservist, admitted to firing the gun, but argued he pulled the trigger in self-defence when he thought Styres was armed.
Styres was not holding a gun at the time.
Khill pleaded not-guilty to second-degree murder and a jury acquitted him on June 27.
Jeffrey Manishen, Khill’s lawyer, said his client was “disappointed to learn that he will now have to retain counsel” for the appeal against his acquittal.
“He believes that his trial was conducted with fairness for all concerned and without error on the part of the trial judge or the jury,” Manishen wrote in an emailed statement.
“He wants the appeal to be heard as soon as possible.”
Khill is also facing a $2.25 million civil lawsuit in the matter.
Styres’ widow, Lindsay Hill, and the couple’s two young children filed the statement of claim, seeking damages for the “negligent infliction” of mental distress and psychological damage caused by Khill’s actions.
The claim, which has yet to be proven in court, alleges Khill meant to injure or kill Styres.
“The defendant did not attempt to contact the authorities prior to confronting Jon Styres,” the suit states. “During the confrontation, the defendant – suddenly and without warning – shot Jon Styres multiple times, ultimately resulting in Jon’s death.”
The Styres’ lawyer, Robert Hooper, said the jury’s verdict did not affect the civil suit because Khill confirmed he shot Styres.
“The claim pleads both an intentional act and a negligent act,” Hooper told The Canadian Press. “We will look at his testimony and decide how to proceed.”
Khill had argued in his own defence that his four years of training as an army reservist kicked when he instinctively grabbed a shotgun and went outside to confront a potential intruder or intruders in the early morning hours of Feb. 4, 2016.
Evidence was that within seconds of spotting a shadowy figure leaning into his 15-year-old pickup truck parked in the driveway, Khill fired twice from a couple of metres, one shot hitting Styres squarely in the chest, the other passing through the back of his arm and into his chest. Styres died minutes later.
Only after the shooting did Khill’s then-girlfriend, now his wife, call 911, court heard.
“The incident was caused in whole by the intentional actions of the defendant which consisted of shooting Jon Styres with the intention to cause injury or death,” the suit alleges.
Six Nations Elected Council also recently voted to banish Khill from the community situated almost 100 km southwest of Toronto.
A number of prominent Indigenous leaders have since spoken out against the not-guilty verdict and called for an appeal.
Six Nations Chief Ava Hill told APTN News she was “shocked” by the verdict.
“What’s that mean? A car is more important than a young man’s life? I’m in shock,” she said at the time.
- With files from The Canadian Press