Suspect admits hitting victim

STRATHMORE – A teen on trial for manslaughter in a fatal pre-arranged fight had never punched anyone before and did not intend to inflict any serious harm on Tyler Trithart, he testified yesterday.

The accused – who fought 16-year-old Trithart last May at James Peake Park in Chestermere – said problems between the two arose after he heard rumours that Trithart was calling him “a mama’s boy” and “a pansy” behind his back.

The 17-year-old accused, who was 16 at the time of the fight, also testified Trithart was interested in his girlfriend.

“He didn’t like that I was with her,” he told defence lawyer Patrick Fagan.

After months of tension between the two Chestermere high school students, the accused said Trithart confronted him May 25 outside of his shop class and they set a time and place to fight after school.

Some 50 onlookers watched the fight, and before both combatants arrived, a police officer drove to the scene.

After being told the students were waiting for grads to do some partying, the officer warned people to move their cars from the roadside and reminded them how much a ticket is for open liquor before leaving.

Under cross-examination by Crown prosector Danny Elliott, the accused recalled hitting Trithart once in the face and then punching him three or four more times on the ground as he tried to shield his head.

“It was just a punch – I just punched him,” he said.

“I had no idea what the effects would be.”

The accused testified he thought the punch would result in “a bloody nose, fat lip (or) … a black eye.”

The teen also said he didn’t think the fight was over after he stopped punching. “I thought he was just going to get up and it was going to go on,” said the accused.

“On my way to my car I said, `If you want to do something like this again, let me know.'”

Later that day, the accused said he was in disbelief upon hearing Trithart’s injuries turned fatal.

“I didn’t think it was true … you don’t expect something like that,” the accused said.

The defence wrapped up yesterday and arguments are expected to commence this morning.