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Triple murder or manslaughter? Sudbury jury deliberating fate of man responsible for fatal firebombing


After a lengthy series of instructions from Justice Dan Cornell, a Sudbury jury is deliberating whether to find a suspect guilty of three counts of manslaughter or three counts of murder.

Liam Stinson, 27, is charged with first-degree murder in the case, which dates to April 11, 2021, at a townhouse on Bruce Avenue in the city.

Stinson has admitted he directed two men to throw Molotov cocktails in the residence, a firebombing that took place at 4:40 a.m. when the four people inside were high on drugs and asleep.

Jamie-Lynn Rose, Jasmine Somers and Guy Henri were killed in the fire. David Cheff, whose townhouse it was, was the only survivor and suffered significant injuries.

The trial heard that Rose was Stinson’s estranged girlfriend. The pair had a tumultuous relationship, which the Crown said was toxic and involved death threats.

The defence has admitted Stinson is guilty of manslaughter in the case, and of arson causing bodily harm. But they argue Stinson had no intent to kill anyone. He was extremely intoxicated that night and was “sending a message” rather than trying to commit murder.

In his instructions, Cornell said the jury must decide whether Stinson planned the firebombing with the intention to kill.

He said a first-degree murder conviction requires proof of a pre-meditated plan to cause someone’s death, or cause such severe injury that death would likely follow.

“Use your common sense” when deciding who to believe, Cornell said.

Only use evidence you accept and believe to come up with your verdict, he added. When it comes to witnesses who changed their testimony, Cornell said they have the option to consider whether they are not being truthful.

One key element is deciding whether Stinson was too intoxicated to form the intent to murder. Evidence showed that he had consumed alcohol and was smoking crack cocaine for much of that evening.

The jury was told that, at a minimum, they must find Stinson guilty of three counts of manslaughter and arson causing bodily harm.

Both planned and deliberate

But if they decide Stinson had the state of mind to commit first-degree murder of one victim, that’s enough to convict for first-degree murder for all three deaths.

“The murder must be both planned and deliberate,” Cornell said.

Four other men have already been before the courts for their roles in the fatal fire, including the two people who admitted to throwing the Molotov cocktails inside the townhouse.

They pled guilty to manslaughter and arson causing bodily harm. Stinson is the final suspect to be tried in the case.

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