SALABERRY DE VALLEYFIELD | A dental assistant who stabbed his neighbor after a backyard argument escalated over a loud party has been acquitted of manslaughter charges after acting in self-defense, a court has heard.
“The person defending himself in self-defense cannot be expected to be unable to measure accurately in the heat of the moment the level of force required to repel an impending attack,” Judge Bertrand St-Arnaud said Thursday afternoon . a few moments before the acquittal of Deyver Andres Aguilar Céspedes at the Salaberry-de-Valleyfield courthouse.
The 42-year-old was accused of negligent murder of his neighbor Maxime-Alexandre Bélanger. He was 39 years old at the time and had one child.
Maxime-Alexandre Bélanger, deceased. Photo from the website gofundme.com
Their feud, which has been going on since 2016, took a macabre turn on June 21, 2020.
Balaclava and Exacto
That day was Father's Day. Mr. Aguilar Céspedes had invited some relatives to celebrate in his courtyard. There was food and music.
At around 9:30 p.m., his neighbor, a bricklayer and former soldier, probably shouted at him to shut up because his little party was loud.
According to the defendant's account during his trial, this would have put a damper on his small party and his guests left the premises.
But about an hour later, Mr. Bélanger, his head covered with a balaclava, jumped over the fence that separated their yard.
He had warm gloves in his hands, an exacto knife and a baseball bat.
He then perforated the lining of Mr. Aguilar Céspedes' swimming pool in several places.
He, in turn, left his house with a kitchen knife and tried to understand in the dark what was happening on his land.
“The only thing I want is to scare the thief,” he testified during his trial, saying he didn't know it was his neighbor.
Then Mr. Bélanger pounced on him and hit him in the back with a stick, even though he was 1.80 m tall and weighed 90 kg.
“At this moment I fear for my life, for my daughter's life, for the life of [ma conjointe] ” said the 1.70 meter tall and 70 kilogram man, who then inflicted 13 wounds, including two fatal ones, between the ribs of his attacker.
The bloody place where Maxime Bélanger was found on the ground. Photo submitted as evidence in court
His neighbor's heart and lungs were punctured. He therefore succumbed to his injuries.
According to the court, which found Mr. Aguilar Céspedes' version to be credible and sincere, he did not have “the luxury of in-depth reflection” in the face of the threat and belligerent behavior of his neighbor, which is the origin of the act. Attack.
The forty-year-old did not resist his arrest and was released as part of the court proceedings just a few days after his accusation.
After his acquittal, neither Mr. Aguilar Céspedes nor his lawyers would respond to the decision as they left the courtroom.
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