Photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS Peter Khill, charged with second-degree murder, leaves court in Hamilton Tuesday.

Jury hears 911 call made after the shooting death of Indigenous man

HAMILTON — The wife of a man charged with second-degree murder testified Wednesday that there had been numerous break and enters and car thefts in their rural community in the months before her husband shot and killed a man who was allegedly trying to steal his truck.

Peter Khill, 30, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death of Jon Styres on Feb. 4, 2016, though he does not deny that he hit the 29-year-old from Six Nations Reserve with a pair of shotgun blasts.

Khill’s wife, Melinda Benko, told jurors she woke him up around 3 a.m. after she heard loud knocking or banging noises outside their home near Hamilton.

Her husband got his shotgun from the bedroom closet, loaded it and headed out the back door while she looked out the window, she testified.

Benko saw the silhouette of a person in the passenger seat of the truck, then a blinding light coming from the breezeway between the house and garage, followed by yelling and two loud, echoing blasts accompanied by flying sparks, she said, adding that she could not tell at first who had fired the shots.

“I was hoping Pete would shoot first if he had to,” said Benko, who is six months pregnant with the couple’s first child.

“I just freaked out and called 911.”

The Crown played the nearly 15-minute 911 call for the jury, in which Benko describes the series of events, adding that her then-boyfriend had shot a man who was trying to steal their truck.

Khill can later be heard telling the operator that he fired in self-defence, after seeing Styres in the truck raising his arms as if he had a gun.

“It looked like he was literally about to shoot me so I shot him,” Khill said over the phone. “I didn’t want to lose my life… Looking at him now it doesn’t look like (he has a gun).”

Benko testified on Wednesday that she and Khill had been “on edge” in the days leading up to the shooting. The couple moved into their house around Binbrook, Ont., about six months earlier and there had been “a lot of chatter in the community” about break and enters, car thefts and people being hurt by intruders, she said.

The week before the shooting, Benko was home alone while Khill was on a business trip and on two separate occasions she heard what she believed was someone trying to unlock the back door using the electronic keypad, Benko said.

Both times she opened the back door and found no one there, but the couple was concerned enough that Khill changed the back door’s key code once he got home.

Benko told the court she thought at first that the noise she heard on the morning of Feb. 4, 2016 could have been someone in the covered breezeway between the house and the garage, kicking through one of the windows into the basement, trying to get into the home.

Just Posted

Number of seniors who play bridge in Red Deer growing

Red Deer Bridge Club has been around for close to 60 years

PHOTOS: Buccaneers battle Wolfpack in AFL semifinal

The Central Alberta Buccaneers battled the Calgary Wolfpack in the Alberta Football… Continue reading

Raising awareness for Bikers Against Child Abuse

Second annual Raise A Ruckus Against Child Abuse was held at the Red Deer Radisson Hotel Saturday

Central Alberta Yogathon cancelled Saturday

Due to air quality concerns the fourth annual event will take place Sept. 15

City Hall Park construction begins next week

Construction to update Red Deer’s City Hall Park is set to begin… Continue reading

WATCH: Medicine River Wildlife Centre opens new playground

The grand opening of the playground was Saturday morning

Canadians fear for relatives trapped amid flooding in Indian state of Kerala

In the wake of deadly flooding in the Indian state of Kerala,… Continue reading

Indonesia’s Lombok island jolted by multiple quakes

SEMBALUN, Indonesia — Strong earthquakes jolted the Indonesian tourist island of Lombok… Continue reading

Afghan president calls for Eid cease-fire, Taliban to reply

KABUL — Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has called for a conditional cease-fire… Continue reading

Montreal may have less influence after October provincial election

MONTREAL — When Coalition Avenir Quebec Leader Francois Legault recently dismissed the… Continue reading

Privacy issue with online pot sales after legalization needs watching: experts

TORONTO — Buyers who have to provide personal information to purchase recreational… Continue reading

Range of reactions to possible holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

The federal government’s intention to enact a statutory holiday aimed at remembering… Continue reading

Wildfire smoke from B.C. gets in the way of mountain scenery for tourists

JASPER, Alta. — Smoke from wildfires that’s blanketing parts of Alberta does… Continue reading

Fast food chains look to capitalize on vegetarian, vegan trend with new items

The once meat-dominated world of fast-food and casual restaurants is starting to… Continue reading

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month