A Chestermere teen accused of beating a classmate to death is devastated by the incident, said his lawyer Tuesday, immediately after his client was released into his parents’ custody.
“Obviously, he’s devastated by the death of Tyler and obviously his arrest last Friday. Being taken from his home, handcuffed, arrested for second-degree murder had a traumatic effect on him,” said defence lawyer Patrick Fagan on the steps of family and youth court in Calgary Tuesday morning.
Tyler Trithart, 16, died Friday after he was punched several times by another student during a fight at John Peake Park, on the northwest edge of Chestermere Lake. Police arrested a suspect Friday evening and charged him with second-degree murder Saturday. His name cannot be published under the Young Offenders Act.
An estimated 75 teens from Chestermere High School watched the pre-arranged fight, which was apparently over a girl.
During the 40-minute court proceedings, the clean-cut youth, wearing a green T-shirt and blue sweatpants, hunched forward, keeping his eyes to the floor, glancing up only a few times towards his parents and older sister sitting in the front row.
A sigh of relief from family and friends was audible in the courtroom after Judge Steve Lipton granted the Grade 11 student $500 bail and ordered him released to his parents.
Under release conditions, the youth must live with his parents, stay away from Chestermere High School, cannot have contact with the Trithart family, must adhere to a 7 p.m. to 9 a.m. curfew and must start home schooling.
He must also report to the local RCMP for probation, and refrain from possessing or using any drugs or alcohol. He is not allowed to leave Alberta or go on vacation outside the province without written permission from the courts.
A publication ban prevents any further details of the court proceedings being published.
Family members and a handful of classmates hugged each other and consoled the youth’s parents and older sister in a waiting area outside the courtroom just after the ruling. The family waved off media attention and left shortly after the proceedings through a back door.
By all accounts, Friday’s fight was totally out of character for the 16-year-old, who turns 17 in September.
“He’s the sweetest guy I’ve ever known,” said one young woman outside the courthouse.
“(He’s) a good student, an honour student, at least on his last report card. A good athlete, played hockey, played football, well-liked by school staff, well-liked by his fellow students, a good kid,” added Fagan.
“He’s not the type of young man you sometimes see charged with an offence of this nature. He hasn’t developed a tough exterior, so it’s a really tough one. So I’m really pleased to see him go home.”
The youth is scheduled to make his next court appearance June 12 in Strathmore.
Meanwhile, Tyler Trithart’s funeral will take place Saturday at 1 p.m. in Chestermere.