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'I will never look at myself as a murderer,' says man convicted of St-Laurent murder

On Feb. 15, 2020, Selwin George Chin shot Mark Jackson in the heart during an argument outside a barber shop in the St-Laurent borough.

A man bundled up for winter walks through a turnstile at a metro station in a still from an elevated surveillance camera
An image of what the Crown alleges is Selwin George Chin before he went through a turnstile at the Côte Vertu métro station after Mark Jackson was shot outside a barber shop on Feb. 15, 2020. Court files

Selwin George Chin, the man convicted last week by a jury of first-degree murder, continued to deny he intended to kill the man he shot in the heart during his sentencing hearing on Wednesday.

Chin killed Mark Jackson on Feb. 15, 2020, during an argument outside a barber shop on MacDonald St. in the St-Laurent borough. When he testified in his defence during the trial, Chin, 43, admitted he was the man seen shooting Jackson in the chest in a video recorded by a surveillance camera positioned outside a nearby grocery store. But he also told the jury he did not intend to kill Jackson when he pulled the gun out of his winter jacket.

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A first-degree murder conviction comes with an automatic life sentence with a period of parole ineligibility fixed at 25 years, but Superior Court Justice Daniel Royer wanted to give Jackson’s loved ones a chance this week to speak on his behalf.

The judge also gave Chin an opportunity to say something as well before he made the sentence official. It is a standard procedure before any criminal is sentenced in Canada and the offender usually needs no more than two minutes to express remorse or apologize.

It took Chin more than 15 minutes to address the court, but he also spoke directly to Jackson’s girlfriend and his sister, the two women who spoke on the victim’s behalf.

“Even tough I was found guilty of first-degree murder, I would like to say that I am not a murderer. I will never look at myself as a murderer, with all due respect to all of (Jackson’s) family and everything you went through.

“I’m sorry that this person died, I really am. I am devastated that this person died, but that was not my intention.”

Chin made the statement from inside a prisoner’s dock in a courtroom on the third floor of the Montreal courthouse. Royer intervened when Chin addressed Jackson’s girlfriend, Alicia Walker, directly and claimed she was present at the barber shop when Jackson stepped outside and confronted him.

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Less than two hours before the shooting, Chin got into an argument with a small group of men outside the barber shop and Jackson head-butted him with such force Chin fell to the pavement. Chin left and returned with the gun. Chin claimed the people inside the barber shop encouraged Jackson to confront him.

“I’m sorry that this happened like this,” Chin said as he broke down and cried as he neared the end of his statement. “I’m sorry that the whole thing played out like this.”

Following the jury’s verdict last week, Chin’s lawyer, Alan Guttman, said he was very surprised that the jury opted for first-degree murder, as opposed to second-degree or manslaughter, and that he plans to appeal.

When she delivered her victim impact statement, Jackson’s sister, Kadeesha Samuels, thanked the jury for its verdict. She said that near the end of the trial she was dreading a conviction on anything less than first-degree murder.

“On the fateful night of Feb. 15, 2020, so many lives were shattered. My dear mother lost her 40-year-old son,” Samuels said. “It is something I would not wish on my worst enemy. Watching my brother’s casket go into the ground put me and my family into a deep depression that I am still battling today.”

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Samuels described her brother as warm, charming and “the kind of person who would give you the shirt off his back.”

“I never thought that my brother would die so young. I never thought that someone he considered a friend, Selwin Chin, would be the one to take his life,” Samuels said. “Selwin, I hope that you take the time to reflect during your sentence on the many lives you’ve impacted since you took my brother’s life.”

Walker told the court she lost her job while grieving over the loss of her boyfriend.

“I function every day as normal people do (and) in reality my scarring isn’t evident to everybody,” Walker said. “Isolation is my only escape.

“It’s taking time to rediscover myself because I still have to let Mark go.”

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