Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ethiopian man tells court he changed mind about committing suicide four days before killing ex-girlfriend

(Feb 13, 2013, Ottawa Citizen)--Four days before calling 911 to report that he had stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death inside her Riverside Drive apartment, Tamrat Gebere decided to end his own life, he testified at his second-degree murder trial Tuesday.

Photograph by: Handout photo
Distraught over an ongoing battle to see his 17-month-old daughter regularly, Gebere testified that he skipped work at Citizenship and Immigration Canada for the second consecutive day, walked to the bus station on Catherine Street and bought a ticket for the next available bus, which happened to bound for Kingston.

“I couldn’t continue arguing about the child,” he told the court, hanging his head and covering his face in a break from his otherwise calm testimony. Gebere admitted to killing the mother of his child, 32-year-old Aster Kassa, on July 17, 2010. Kassa was stabbed 53 times. Mother and daughter had been moving from shelter to shelter before getting an apartment of their own. They moved in just 18 hours before the killing.

A jury will decide if he is guilty of manslaughter, to which he has pleaded guilty, or to second-degree murder, the charge he faces. Gebere told the court that he wandered around Kingston, planned to commit suicide in Lake Ontario, then checked into a hotel where he drank excessively and flipped through the yellow pages calling escorts.

“I thought, it’s my final day and I would spend it to the fullest,” he said. “My plan was to wake up in the middle of the night and jump in the lake.” But Gebere slept through the night, and the next day he decided to pull his life “back together,” he said. That day he continued his bender and had a one-night stand with a friend of a friend — a woman whose name he said he could not remember. 

Early the next morning, he boarded a bus back to Ottawa and slept the whole day in his MacLaren Street apartment, he said. The next day — a Saturday — he picked up some takeout Ethiopian food and took a cab to Kassa’s new apartment to help her assemble their daughter’s crib. The toddler was sleeping when he arrived, he said. Read more from  Ottawa Citizen »

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