Murray Poole was allegedly assaulted by a group of four people on March 16 at this location on Ward Street. Photo: Tyler Harper

Homeless man allegedly swarmed by group in downtown Nelson

Justus Taylor Bisch is charged with assault causing bodily harm

A homeless man who was allegedly swarmed by four people in downtown Nelson is the victim in an assault trial that began Wednesday.

That man can’t testify, however, because he later died in what a police officer told court was an unrelated event currently being investigated as a homicide.

Murray Poole, 59, was allegedly assaulted by one man, Justus Taylor Bisch, and three other males shortly after midnight outside Wait’s News’ former location at Ward and Baker Streets on March 16.

Bisch faces one charge of assault causing bodily harm. The Star cannot name the other alleged assailants because they were under 18 at the time of the incident.

Two witnesses — an employee of Wait’s News and a customer — both testified they intervened when they saw Poole being kicked and punched by the four assailants while he was lying on Ward Street.

It’s not clear who or what instigated the event. Both witnesses said the group alleged Poole spit or blew snot on them, while another complained Poole may have stolen his wallet.

Nelson Police Department Cst. Mike McKerracher was the first officer to arrive on the scene. He told the court he was first approached by Bisch, who said he had been assaulted. McKerracher testified Bisch did not appear to have injuries, but had alcohol on his breath.

McKerracher also said Poole was bleeding heavily with a laceration on his scalp, a nose that appeared to be broken, and agitation the officer noted is consistent with a head injury. Poole, he said, also appeared intoxicated.

McKerracher told the court that Poole is the subject of an active homicide investigation, although he did not divulge any more details or say when Poole died.

Poole gave two statements to police, the first at the time of the alleged assault and another on March 28. Judge Phillip Seagram ruled the statements were inconsistent, unreliable, could not be scrutinized by cross examination and were therefore inadmissible.

Bisch, meanwhile, has not testified.

The trial, which ran through Thursday, will resume in December.



tyler.harper@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Ktunaxa, supporters celebrate protection of Qat’muk and the Jumbo valley

Speeches, acknowledgements and ceremonies mark an emotional gathering in Cranbrook

Jumbo Valley to be protected, ending decades-long dispute over proposed ski resort

Development rights permanently retired for site of proposed year-round ski resort west of Invermere

Matt Andersen to tear it up in Cranbrook

Canadian singer, songwriter and guitarist showcasing new album at February concert at Key City Theatre

It happened this week in 1913

Jan. 12 -18: Compiled by Dave Humphrey from the newspapers at the Cranbrook History Centre and Archives

COTR Avalanche back in action for 2020

The College of the Rockies Avalanche volleyball teams are back in action… Continue reading

Northern B.C. RCMP investigating alleged sexual assault in lingerie store

One person was transported by ambulance to hospital following RCMP investigation at Sedaz

UBC, Iranian-Canadian community create memorial scholarship in honour of victims

The Jan. 8 crash killed 176 people, including 57 Canadians

Disrespectful that Horgan won’t meet during northern B.C. tour: hereditary chief

Na’moks said he was frustrated Horgan didn’t meet with the chiefs

Hwy 3 to close for avalanche control on Jan. 19

The road is expected to be closed from noon to 3 p.m.

Canucks extend home win streak to 8 with 4-1 triumph over Sharks

Victory lifts Vancouver into top spot in NHL’s Pacific Division

BC Green Party leader visits northern B.C. pipeline protest site

Adam Olsen calls for better relationship between Canada, British Columbia and First Nations

‘Extensive’ work planned at Big Bar landslide ahead of salmon, steelhead migration

Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan visited the site of the slide from June

Most Read