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‘Cactus’ murder trial begins

<p>Friends of a slain homeless man said they’re relieved the trial for the suspect in his death started yesterday.</p>

Man accused of killing homeless person in court


Friends of a slain homeless man said they’re relieved the trial for the suspect in his death started yesterday.



More than a year and a half after Steven Beriault was stabbed to death in the underpass at Rideau Street and Sussex Drive, the second-degree murder trial for the suspect has begun in Superior Court.



Brittany Mandel, a friend of Beriault’s, attended yesterday. She said the start of the trial brings back bad memories of the death of her friend, who was nicknamed ‘Cactus.’



"I always think of Cactus, no matter what," said Mandel. "I think of him on sunny days. Everywhere I go in Ottawa, I think of Cactus."



Dressed in a black suit, the accused, Ricky Hankey, sat calmly in the court room. He occasionally turned to look at the courtroom behind him, but he did not speak.



The judge issued a publication ban on the pretrial motions, which take place in the absence of a jury and are expected to last for a week.



Mandel, who met Beriault through mutual friends about four years prior to his death, called him a vibrant spirit.



"He was awesome," Mandel said.



She said she "broke down" upon learning of his death.



"We were all so torn," she said. "I had just seen him the day before."



Beriault, a 21-year-old homeless man, was stabbed to death in the underpass near the Rideau Centre on June 14, 2006. He had been living on the streets for about two months prior to his death.




tracey.tong@metronews.ca



















crime in the city




  • Steven Beriault was Ottawa’s seventh homicide of 2006.


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