The mother of the man accused of murdering Simone Sanderson spoke for the first time in court on Wednesday since wiretaps from her home were played during the murder trial last week.
Kyllan Ellis has pleaded not-guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of the 23-year-old Indigenous woman.
Carol Ellis recalled an incident, which occurred on the early morning hours of Aug. 27, 2012. She told the court that she received a call from her son. He told her he had lost his car keys and needed to be picked up in Winnipeg’s North End.
She said when she arrived her son was ‘wooden-faced’ and he wouldn’t answer any of her questions.
She drove him to his father’s home in Lorette, Man., approximately 30 km from Winnipeg to pick up a spare set of keys.
On the way back he told his mother he was assaulted.
“He told me that he picked a girl up at the Curtis [Gordon Motor Hotel]. She identified herself as a prostitute. She said they could go to a place she knew to have some fun,” Carol Ellis testified.
She admitted her memories from that night are “jumbled” but she remembered Kyllan telling her he drove to an area in the North End when the assault took place.
“She threw the [car] keys. They got out of the car. He was jumped by a male and there was some sort of struggle,” said Carol.
“Eventually the male took off. There was a physical fight. He ended up choking her.”
During cross examination on Wednesday defence lawyer Mike Cook asked Ellis if the accused mentioned Simone Sanderson during his confession?
Ellis said, “no.”
Sanderson’s body was found in a vacant lot in the North End on Sept. 2, 2012. She was last seen in the same area a week earlier.
Kristy Donald previously told the court she found Sanderson’s body underneath a piece of flattened cardboard while searching for empty beer bottles in the lot.
Last week the court learned about covert wiretaps taken from Carol Ellis’ home. In one of the audio recordings played, Carol Ellis can be heard saying to Kyllan, “I know what you did.” The two argued after that.
Kyllan never responded to the claim.
On Tuesday, John Ellis, father of Kyllan Ellis, told the court he was stunned to learn of his son’s arrest on April 25, 2016.
He said it was like a, “sledgehammer to the gut.”
He testified about a conversation he had with Kyllan in 2014.
“I asked him what is going on,” said John Ellis. “[Kyllan] said, ‘I think I may have killed someone.’”
“[Kyllan] was out one night and a girl got into his car… during a drive to somewhere she stole his keys and threatened him with a knife, or a knife was involved in some manner. A pursuit happened and he tried to get his keys back.”
John Ellis told the court he didn’t want Kyllan to continue speaking. He asked him to stop and even took additional measures to make sure he wouldn’t hear anything else Kyllan said.
“I literally stuck my fingers in my ears.”
Also on Tuesday court heard for the first time Kyllan Ellis is living with schizophrenia and has been taking prescribed medication off and on for most of his adult life.
Both of the accused parents have testified they weren’t entirely sure if the story was true or a figment of Kyllan’s imagination.
“When you live with a schizophrenic you kind of don’t know if you’re hearing reality or craziness of the mind,” said John.
A pathologist told the court last week Sanderson died of blunt and sharp force trauma, but could not determine the time of death because of the severe decomposition.
A forensic entomologist said on Tuesday she believes Sanderson died in the early morning hours on Aug. 27, 2012 based off the insects found on the body.
Closing arguments are set for May 28.