Disturbing testimony at the trial of Johan Mitchell Blake MacLennan
Article published on 25 May 2022
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Warning: This story contains details that some readers may find distressing. Reader discretion is advised.

The trial of Johan Mitchell Blake MacLennan, accused of the murder of Harold Plugowsky, in Fort-Coulonge on September 2, 2020, started last Thursday at the Gatineau Courthouse. According to reporting by Charles-Antoine Gagnon for the newspaper Le Droit, the initial testimony paints a gruesome scene.

MacLennan, 37, is accused of first-degree murder in the death of his landlord Plugowsky, 61, at a home on rue Principale.

The court heard from a neighbour who witnessed the accused leaving the residence with a baseball bat that had blood on it. The neighbour told the court that the accused was calm and said in English “I’m tired of being mistreated.” The neighbour approached the home with two paramedics and saw the victim facedown in the hallway with a pool of blood around his head.

The court also heard from a paramedic dispatched to the scene who reported talking to the accused, who was holding a baseball bat on the balcony of the residence. The accused told him that his first name was John, and that he had killed “The Wizard”, which was a nickname of Plugowsky’s.

Gagnon reports that although authorities had indicated that the victim died in the hours following the attack, the paramedic specified in court that the death was evident when he checked the victim’s vital signs. The paramedic testified that the victim’s skull was open and that there was blood and brain matter all over the walls and floor.

The 911 call in this case was also played in court. It was a neighbour who contacted the authorities at the request of the alleged attacker.

“He told me if he moved he was going to keep (hitting him). The victim started to move, and he beat him with baseball bat”, the neighbour is reported as saying during the call (translated).

The trial could run until the first week of July. The case is being heard in Quebec Superior Court in front of judge Catherine Mandeville as well as a jury of seven women and five men.

Gagnon’s coverage of the trial for Le Droit can be found here and here.

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