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Defence accuses Sudbury witness of starting deadly fire in hopes of being rewarded with fentanyl


The defence in a triple murder trial in Sudbury accused a witness of setting the deadly fire on his own accord in hopes of being rewarded with fentanyl.

Liam Stinson, 27, is on trial for three counts of first-degree murder and one count of recklessly causing damage by fire in connection with an April 11, 2021, fire on Bruce Avenue.

He is accused of arranging the firebombing of a townhouse using Molotov cocktails. Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose, Jasmine Marie-Clair Somers and Guy (Popcorn) Armand Henri were killed. David Cheff, who lived there, survived by jumping out a window.

Two witnesses who can’t be named under a publication ban have testified that they started the fire in exchange for fentanyl from Stinson. Jamie-Lynn Rose was Stinson’s estranged girlfriend, court has heard in earlier testimony.

On Tuesday, the man who threw the lighted Molotov cocktail into the townhouse testified that Stinson agreed to give him drugs in exchange for lighting the fire.

“I owed him money, plus I wanted more drugs,” the witness testified.

“He told me he would hook me up if I started the fire.”

But Wilkinson pointed out that the witness had already changed his story a few times. When he was arrested on April 29, 2021, he told police he was with his girlfriend all night.

“You lied to the police?” Wilkinson asked.

“Yes,” the man said.

When he was interviewed April 30, 2021, he told police that Stinson had provided him the gas to start the fire. But he admitted during the trial – and the jury watched a video – that he bought the gas himself at a nearby station.

Three people died in the April 11, 2021, arson: Jasmine Marie-Claire Somers, left, Jamie-Lynn Lori-Lee Rose and Guy Armand Henri. (File Photo)

And when he was interviewed May 19, 2022, under oath, he again denied lighting the fire and said he was with his girlfriend all night. He also claimed police pressured him to confess.

“That statement was a lie, under oath?” Wilkinson asked.

“Correct,” the witness responded.

Out of money and out of fentanyl

Wilkinson argued that the night of the fire, the witness was out of money and out of fentanyl and it was days before his employment insurance check was to arrive so he could buy more.

“You’re a pretty resourceful guy when it comes to getting drugs to feed your habit?” he asked.

“Yes,” the witness agreed.

Wilkinson suggested he and the other man knew that Stinson wasn’t happy with the residents at Cheff’s place, so they decided on their own to burn it, hoping for a fentanyl reward from Stinson.

“It seems like something he wants, maybe he’ll give me something later,” Wilkinson said of the man’s reasoning.

“He didn’t promise you anything, did he?”

“There was no concrete agreement with me and Stinson about what I was going to get,” the man said, but they had an agreement Stinson would give them fentanyl in exchange for lighting the fire.

The day of the fire, the witness said he had consumed about 0.6 of a gram of fentanyl, higher than his usual daily intake. But at that point, he already owed Stinson $100 from an earlier debt, had spent $60 on another fentanyl purchase, and had given Stinson his TV as collateral for more.

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“At that point, you’re still craving more fentanyl?” Wilkinson asked.

“Definitely anticipating craving,” the witness said.

“I had no way of obtaining fenny for the next couple of days.”

The trial resumes Wednesday morning. Top Stories

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