Man, 27, charged with second-degree murder in death of B.C. hockey mom
Jesse Tahirali, CTVNews.ca
Published Saturday, May 24, 2014 8:47AM EDT
Last Updated Saturday, May 24, 2014 6:21PM EDT
A 27-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder in connection to the 2013 beating death of a B.C. hockey mom.
Yosef Jomo Gopaul was arrested Friday and is scheduled to appear in court Monday to face the charges, police confirmed at a news conference Saturday.
Julie Paskall, 53, died in hospital on Dec. 31 just days after being attacked in the parking lot of a community hockey arena in Surrey, B.C. She was waiting for her 16-year-old son at the time.
Her husband, Al Paskall, made a brief statement Saturday, thanking the investigators and the community for their support.
"While this is very important, it does not bring her back; she's deeply missed and this has been an extremely difficult time for our family," he said. “We have suffered an unthinkable loss.”
Police said Gopaul had moved to Surrey eight weeks before the murder from Ontario, and had been a suspect in the case about one month into the investigation.
Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) Superintendent Kevin Hackett declined to discuss the motive for the crime or specifics of the investigation.
“While today’s announcement of charges are a significant milestone, I’m also mindful that our efforts are not over. We must now prepare for the court process,” he said. “Therefore, I will be limiting my comments with respect to details that led to the charges.”
Hackett also confirmed that Gopaul has a criminal record outside of B.C. A 22-year-old with the same name was arrested and charged with aggravated sexual assault in Brampton, Ont., in 2010.
“I believe that is the same individual,” Hackett said.
Police said they reviewed approximately 1,000 hours of video surveillance footage, as well as “countless” hours of physical surveillance, before making the arrest.
Paskall’s murder triggered questions of safety in the Surrey community after a year of record-setting violence.
Her death was one of 25 homicides recorded in in 2013, up from 11 one year earlier.
Surrey RCMP Chief Supt. Bill Fordy said he had been listening to the concerns and frustrations of those in the area. Like many in the community, he said, Paskall’s murder affected him personally.
“This crime touched me on a number of different levels. As a citizen of Surrey, as your police chief, as hockey player, a hockey dad and a former coach,” he said.
“I want you to know there was never any doubt in my mind that I would stand shoulder to shoulder with Supt. Hackett and announce that we had arrived at a place where evidence had been secured in Julie’s death.”
With files from The Canadian Press