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Judge rejects guilty plea from man accused of trying to murder ex-girlfriend

['Jason Alexander King, 45, appears in a Harbour Grace courtroom on Wednesday, March 30.']
['Jason Alexander King, 45, appears in a Harbour Grace courtroom on Wednesday, March 30.']

Brought up from the lockup by sheriff's officers and sitting in the dock in Newfoundland and Labrador Supreme Court room number 4 Monday morning, Jason King had every intention of telling the court he was guilty of trying to murder his ex-girlfriend.

Justice Donald Burrage had advised him numerous times over the past few months to seek legal advice, but King was adamant he was representing himself. It was an ego thing, he explained to the judge before. 

King, 47, was the last of 20 people called in front of Burrage for arraignment Monday, and his charges are serious: attempted murder, aggravated assault, assault and breaching court orders. King is accused of stabbing his girlfriend outside the Dollarama store in Bay Roberts where he worked in March 2016, causing her to be taken to hospital for serious injuries. He's also accused of having assaulted her the previous day, while under a court order to have no contact with her. 

In July 2015, King was convicted of assaulting the same woman and damaging her property, earning himself three months of house arrest and the court orders.

Asked by Burrage Monday for his position, King told him he wanted to plead guilty to all counts - but Burrage promptly rejected those pleas.

"Attempted murder means you attempted to kill her and were unsuccessful. We had this discussion before," the judge told King, who nodded. "In response to that discussion, you said to me you didn't intend to kill her. Remember that?"

King said yes.

"I cannot accept a guilty plea to attempted murder from a man who stood where you're standing and told me he didn't intend to kill her," Burrage continued, reminding King he is deemed innocent until proven guilty.

"But it's my choice to make that decision," King replied.

Burrage disagreed, saying in order for him to convict King of attempted murder, he would have to be satisfied the elements of the offence were there — one of them being the intent to kill.

King told the judge again he didn't intend to kill his ex-girlfriend that day, but just wanted to get his court case over with.

"I prefer not to take this to trial," the accused man said. "I prefer to plead out to these charges against me and serve whatever time I need to. I'm not asking for clemency.

"Isn't my guilty plea enough?"

"No, it's not enough," Burrage responded. "In order for you to plead guilty, I have to be satisfied on the evidence before me that you tried to kill her."

Burrage decided to set King's case for a case management meeting, and will appoint an amicus curiae — an independent lawyer to provide information bearing on a case to the court — to attend. King's case will be called in court next for an update on Oct. 2. A trial date of Jan. 29 has already been set, just in case.

Twitter: @tara_bradbury 


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