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 Chelios, on phone with manager who would be slain, heard scr 
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Modmin Dude
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Post Chelios, on phone with manager who would be slain, heard scr
freep.com wrote:
Chelios, on phone with manager who would be slain, heard screams

August 9, 2007

BY BEN SCHMITT

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios testified today that he was on the phone with a manager of his downtown Detroit restaurant shortly before someone stabbed her to death.

Chelios, owner of the popular Cheli’s Chili Bar, testified that Megan Soroka stopped the conversation after she heard yelling from the second floor of the multilevel restaurant on Adams Street.

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Police alleged a disgruntled employee, Justin Blackshear, who had been fired for substandard work, stabbed Soroka, 49, and chef Mark Barnard, 52, to death around 9 a.m. Jan. 2.

A solemn Chelios dressed in a dark blue suit testified today during a jury trial against 17-year-old Blackshear in Wayne County Circuit Court. He is on trial on two counts of felony murder in the stabbings of Barnard and Soroka.

The well-known hockey player said he called Soroka at the restaurant while he was en route to hockey practice at Joe Louis Arena.

“She heard some yelling,” Chelios said. “She yelled out Mark’s name and she didn’t hear anything.”

Soroka then asked Chelios to hold on as she went to check on Mark, he said.

She later returned to the phone and said she had better get to work.

Some time after the phone conversation, prosecutors allege Blackshear stabbed Barnard multiple times with a kitchen knife, then attacked Soroka, killing both of them.

Chelios said he was a hockey practice when he received a call to go to the restaurant immediately.

He identified Blackshear in a photograph lifted from a video surveillance camera. The photograph shows a man in a gray, hooded sweatshirt with a black ski mask covering part of his face but leaving the eyes, nose and forehead exposed.

Chelios, who testified for 20 minutes, said he frequently ran into the suspect at the downtown restaurant before the killings.

They had brief conversations whenever they saw each other, Chelios said: “Just casual, when he walked by, ‘Hello.’ ”

Blackshear of Detroit has confessed to the killings, police said.

In his confession, which was read to the jury Tuesday, Blackshear said he went to the restaurant to try to get his job back. But, he said, after arguing with Barnard, he left the building, then reentered, stabbing the chef in the back several times on the second floor with a kitchen knife. He said he stabbed Soroka when she arrived on the scene.

Later today, Nicole Haley-Aquil, the mother of Blackshear’s girlfriend, testified that she found money with Cheli’s wrappers wrapped in a shirt in the vacant flat above her Detroit apartment . Haley-Aquil testified that Blackshear had been living with her family because he had gotten her daughter pregnant.

Blackshear called Haley-Aquil collect from the Wayne County Jail after his arrest and denied any wrongdoing.

“I don’t have the heart to kill nobody knowing I have a kid on the way,” Blackshear said on the recorded call that was played to the jury today.

But he contradicted himself in a June 28 letter from jail to his girlfriend, which Haley-Aquil read in court.

“The only reason I told them I did it is because they told me the state could take our baby,” he wrote in the letter.

Check back to freep.com for updates.



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http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... 3/SPORTS05

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August 9th, 2007, 4:31 pm
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I hate the media...


August 10th, 2007, 10:19 am
Modmin Dude
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Post Killer to get life in prison for rampage at Cheli's
freep.com wrote:
Killer to get life in prison for rampage at Cheli's
Jury convicts fired teen of murder in 2 stabbing deaths


August 23, 2007

BY BEN SCHMITT

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITER

Justin Blackshear is going to prison for life for killing two of his former bosses at Cheli's Chili Bar in Detroit.

After a jury found him guilty Wednesday, Blackshear's grandfather wondered whether the 18-year-old understands what he did.

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"In a way I don't think he really knows what he did," said 61-year-old Greg Hayes of Detroit. "I'm sorry that all of this happened. My grandson needs help more than anything."

Wayne County jurors took just under two hours to convict Blackshear of two counts of premeditated first-degree murder for the Jan. 2 slayings of Mark Barnard, 52, and Megan Soroka, 49.

Blackshear, who was 17 at the time, had been fired from jobs as a busboy and dishwasher at the popular downtown restaurant owned by Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios. Blackshear's name also appears as Blackshere in some court documents.

Blackshear stabbed Barnard 28 times with a kitchen knife before stabbing Soroka 14 times on the second floor of the multilevel restaurant.

Barnard, who lived in Detroit, worked as a supervisory chef at the restaurant. Soroka, from Dearborn, was a manager.

Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey argued that the evidence against Blackshear was overwhelming. She said that Blackshear, who had been fired for the second time in November, went to the restaurant just before 9 a.m. with the intent to kill and rob.

She pointed out that he confessed to the stabbings, that police found more than $7,000 in cash stolen from the restaurant at his Detroit residence, and that DNA evidence of blood samples taken from his jeans and an envelope in his apartment matched the victims' blood.

Additionally, seven witnesses, including Chelios, identified Blackshear as the hooded person on surveillance videos from the restaurant on Adams Street on the morning of the killings.

Blackshear's attorney Earl Washington asked jurors to consider second-degree murder if they thought he was guilty. He argued that the stabbings could not have been planned because the killer did not bring a weapon to the restaurant.

But Lindsey, who prosecuted the case with Assistant Prosecutor Pat Muscat, pointed out that two witnesses testified that Blackshear called them in December, looking for a gun.

"I guess I'm not completely surprised," Washington said of the verdict. "We didn't have a lot to work with. I'm not sure he was surprised either."

Blackshear stared at the courtroom ceiling when jurors read the verdict.

Wayne County Circuit Judge Helen Brown is scheduled to sentence him Sept. 7, a formality because first-degree murder carries a mandatory life prison sentence.

Jurors left the courthouse through a back entrance, and a sheriff's deputy said they decided not to talk to the media.

Family members of the victims issued a joint statement thanking prosecutors and police.

"They're obviously happy," Lindsey said. "But they're still very devastated."

Chelios also issued a written statement of thanks.

"I would also like to recognize and thank Assistant Wayne County Prosecutor Lisa Lindsey and her staff for their exceptional work," he said. "Due to their diligent efforts this case was solved very quickly, and for that I am extremely grateful."

Contact BEN SCHMITT at 313-223-4296 or bcschmitt@freepress.com.



Find this article at:
http://www.freep.com/apps/pbcs.dll/arti ... /708230352

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August 23rd, 2007, 11:24 am
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I'm glad they got a jury to convict this guy... He was guilty as hell, but IMO the case against him was weak... Sometimes public defenders DO bring about justice :wink: ...


August 23rd, 2007, 12:03 pm
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wjb21ndtown wrote:
I'm glad they got a jury to convict this guy... He was guilty as hell, but IMO the case against him was weak... Sometimes public defenders DO bring about justice :wink: ...

How was it weak? They identified him on camera, the blood from the victims and the stolen money was found at his home, and he confessed to doing it. If that isn't enough evidence for you, I don't what is. :shock:

I'd imagine that you're talking about 1st degree vs. 2nd degree as opposed to his innocence, but whatever. Justice was done.

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August 23rd, 2007, 6:26 pm
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