A prosecutor has challenged a defendant’s claim of killing another man in self-defence, suggesting instead the victim was cornered and brutally murdered during a break-in gone wrong.
Rather than fending off an attack, as he stated on the witness stand in his own defence, Mohammad Khan ambushed and murdered Ahmed Buttu, who happened to be in his home when Khan entered intent on stealing drugs, prosecutor Heather Cook suggested.
Cook further alleged that Khan illegally confined Buttu, who was trying desperately to escape from the house as Khan stabbed and bludgeoned him.
“You didn’t want (Buttu) to leave because you can’t have any witnesses,” Cook asserted as she cross-examined Khan Thursday, June 16 at the Oshawa courthouse.
“Miss,” Khan replied, “I was the one trying to leave.”
Khan, 21, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder in the death of Buttu, who was found dead by his house mates in their home on Langford Street in Oshawa on the night of Feb. 27, 2019. Buttu, 21, sustained more than 20 stab wounds as well as multiple blunt-force injuries, court has heard.
The Crown alleged Khan broke into the house intent on stealing cannabis and other drugs, which he then planned to sell. Khan formed a plan to commit murder when he realized Buttu was in the house and prevented Buttu from escaping, prosecutors allege.
Khan, who began testifying in his own defence Wednesday, June 15, acknowledges he repeatedly stabbed and clubbed Buttu, but said he did so because he feared Buttu, who came at him with a knife and also pulled a handgun, intended to kill him.
“I thought I was dead,” Khan said at one point Thursday.
Khan earlier testified that in early 2019 he was broke and hopelessly addicted to alcohol and drugs. He said he formed a plan to steal cannabis he believed to be in Buttu’s residence for his own use.
Khan hoped to rob the house while no one was home, going so far as to attach a GPS tracking device to a car he believed to belong to Buttu, court heard. On the night of the killing Khan was near the house, tracking the GPS device on his cellphone, when he saw the car had been driven away, court heard.
Assuming the house was empty Khan broke through patio doors and began scooping drugs into a knapsack, jurors heard. But Khan had made a critical error – the car belonged to a house mate. Buttu was upstairs, playing Fortnite when Khan entered the residence.
Khan said he was in the upstairs computer room when he was surprised by Buttu. He said he immediately apologized and tried to give back what he’d stolen, but that Buttu became aggressive. Khan said he pulled a BB gun he was carrying and fired it at Buttu, but that the result was that Buttu grew even angrier, pulling a knife and, eventually, a gun.
“He said, ‘You’re f—ing dead, kid’,” Khan testified.
Khan said he made a desperate attempt to flee, clubbing Buttu over the head with his BB gun and a staircase spindle that was knocked loose during the fracas but that Buttu kept coming, trapping Khan as he tried to get out the front door and slamming the door shut.
Khan said he “freaked out” and repeatedly stabbed Buttu until the attack stopped.
On Thursday Cook suggested it was Khan who prevented Buttu from fleeing, stabbing the man repeatedly in the back as he tried to flee from his own home.
“You pursued him there and began stabbing him in the back as he was trying to leave,” Cook alleged.
“I was the one trying to leave,” Khan retorted.
Evidence in the trial, which began May 24, is now complete. Jurors return Monday, June 20, for final submissions from the lawyers and should be sequestered to begin deliberations by mid-week.
Crown assails account of self-defence by accused man in Oshawa murder trial