Accused in murder was 'good friend'But he had a 'known path of destruction,' chief says
Daily News Staff Reporter
The Kamloops man accused of killing 29-year-old Jesse Seymour was a "good friend" of the victim's, according to police.
He also had a litany of previous crimes, prosecutions and jail time in his short history.
Torbin Jacaida Alec, also 29 years old, made his first court appearance on charges of second-degree murder. His next court date is July 23.
Alec is alleged to have stabbed his friend while the pair engaged in what police call a consensual fight on the lawn of a house at 746 Columbia St. where a small group had gathered for a party Saturday night.
A special prosecutor has been named to investigate the fatal stabbing because Seymour was the estranged son-in-law of B.C. Lieutenant Governor Steven Point. Seymour and Point's daughter shared custody of their three-year-old son.
The Criminal Justice Branch says Kamloops lawyer Robert Bruneau has been appointed as the special prosecutor in the case to avoid any perception of improper influence.
Seymour and Alec had been drinking, according to police, and were described as drunk at around 3:45 a.m. Sunday when they started arguing.
"And typically the first comment is 'Take it outside' and that's what happened," said RCMP Staff Sgt. Grant Learned. "Once it's taken outside the argument escalated into a fight. And it's our allegation that sometime during the fight a knife was produced."
Emergency personnel responding to a 911 call brought Seymour to hospital, where he died at 4 a.m. It's the second homicide of the year for Kamloops.
The exact context of the argument is still being determined, said Learned.
"There are still witnesses needing to be interviewed to get a concrete idea of that."
Police didn't know the address as a problem residence and no gang related activity is suspected, said Learned.
"It's just a regular home in that area."
After the alleged stabbing, Alec fled, initiating a manhunt involving police dogs. He was tracked to an apartment at 196 Yew St. and arrested.
At the time, police said he was also injured, but police are not confirming those initial reports.
"We haven't disclosed any information about that," said Learned.
Alec grew up with his victim after being adopted by Tk'emlups band member John Jules, who lived with and later separated from Alec's mother.
Jules, who died several years ago, was the brother of former band chief Manny Jules.
"It's tragic. It doubles the tragedy," said Jules. "Nobody wins in this one. It just adds to all of the misery that's going on now."
Alec has never been a band member, according to Tk'emlups chief Shane Gottfriedson.
But he was closely connected to many band members, including Seymour.
"I knew who he was. Can't say I was personable with the guy, but I knew who he was, that's for sure," said Gottfriedson.
Alec and Seymour were on "totally different paths," said Gottfriedson. Kids idolized Seymour, who worked in the band's youth community centre. He was the son of band councillor Fred Seymour and band social development staffer Sandra Seymour.
Jesse Seymour expressed his love for his family on his Facebook, especially for his son.
"I got you till the finish my man forever," he wrote.
About 45 members of the band gathered for a group prayer and healing circle outside the band office at noon on Monday.
"He was a big part of Tk'emlups's team of staff so we want to have a prayer circle with all of our staff and get everybody in the right frame of mind," said Gottfriedson.
"We're going to try to make the best of a very bad situation, provide as much support as we can to the family and the friends of Jesse, and let our healing begin as a community to overcome the tragedy and try and do some cultural things to make sure our youth are on the right track."
Alec and Seymour had one thing in common: music. Seymour was an "up and coming" hip hop performer who used the name Bemo, according to Gottfriedson. Alec has recorded two albums using his stage name Alias.
That's where the commonalities ended. Kamloops court archives list no cases involving Jesse Seymour whereas Alec has a history of wielding sharpened instruments and threatening violence.
"Torbin had a known path of destruction. He's got a long history with the law," said Gottfriedson.
In July 2006, Alec was jailed for six months after he approached a man outside the Halston Esso and threatened to "cut and gut" him with the sharpened screw diver he was carrying. The victim did not know Alec, the court was told.
In June 2009, he was jailed for attempting to rob an acquaintance along with accomplice Joseph Cohen.
With Alec as passenger, Cohen drove a stolen truck in pursuit of the man, smashing into a backyard fence and trapping the victim under the truck. The victim received only minor injuries.
And in February 2001, Alec was acquitted of aggravated assault charges in the stabbing of Jason Crack. B.C. Supreme Court Justice Hope Hyslop found there wasn't enough evidence to prove Alec committed the crime.
While Alec was in the area at the time, he was not found with a knife, the victim initially identified someone else as the culprit, and the judge found two other witnesses who identified Alec as unreliable.