Canada
Guilty plea in barbershop murder

Credits: Junial Enterprises - Fotolia

MARYAM SHAH | QMI AGENCY

TORONTO - The family of a slain Toronto barber got some solace Friday when a man pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in a Toronto courtroom.

Christopher Thompson was shot and killed while cutting hair in his Scarborough shop last January
The killer, Kevin Perez, stood to tell the victim's family in the courthouse that he was sorry.

"I just want to say that I apologize to the family ... even though it doesn't mean much," he said in a low voice.

The victim's brother interrupted, voicing the indignation brewing under the surface of his family's grief.

"Keep your apology," Michael Thompson said.
Perez and his younger brother Christopher Perez were arrested and charged with first-degree murder a month after Thompson, 35, was shot multiple times in the head on Jan. 24 while working at a barber shop near Malvern Town Centre.

Following his brother's guilty plea, the first-degree murder charge was dropped in Christopher's case.
The older Perez was sentenced to life with no parole eligibility for 20 years.

The court heard details of the connection between the killer and his victim as well as Kevin Perez's criminal record.

"Mr. Perez and his associates have in the past sold stolen goods to Mr. Thompson," Crown attorney Paul Kelly said.

Four days prior to the murder, Perez had acquired three stolen laptops from a nearby college. According to an agreed statement of facts, Thompson meant to buy them for $300, but refused after he discovered one malfunctioned.

It was a "perceived slight" over this deal that enraged Perez enough to arrive at Thompson's barber shop, armed with a shotgun in a duffle bag.

His original intention, the court heard, was to "intimidate and embarrass" Thompson.

Instead, he wound up shooting Thompson - busy cutting a customer's hair - several times before fleeing the scene.

A victim-impact statement was also read in court, written by Thompson's younger sister Kimberley: "Our lives will never be the same."

Justice Ian Nordheimer noted the effect on Thompson's family, particularly his children - a 16-year-old boy and nine-year-old girl, not present in court.

"Two more children in this city will not have the benefit of their father to guide them as they grow up," he said.

Thompson's cousin Charm Marsh says the sentence is proof "God is still in charge."

"We dreaded Christmas but now with everything and justice being served, it's a good Christmas present," she said.

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