London dismemberment trial hears of violent poem found in accused’s home

Just a few days after the arrest of a young Ontario man accused of murdering his friend and stuffing his body into hockey bags, police found a violent handwritten poem in his home that discussed death and dismemberment, the man's trial heard Tuesday.

LONDON, Ont. — Just a few days after the arrest of a young Ontario man accused of murdering his friend and stuffing his body into hockey bags, police found a violent handwritten poem in his home that discussed death and dismemberment, the man’s trial heard Tuesday.

The rap-style poem, which ran over two pages, was found by police in the home of James McCullough in September 2013, not long after police found the remains of Alex Fraser in two bags in a London, Ont., hotel room, a detective told the trial.

But after every juror was given time to read an excerpt of the poem, the judge presiding over the case issued a note of caution to the 14-member panel.

“The lyrics are graphic, they could be seen by some to be repulsive, you must not allow your emotional reaction to the lyrics affect your objective assessment of this evidence,” said Justice Renee Pomerance.

“The question is not whether he is the kind of person who’d commit the offences charged, the question is whether he did in fact commit the offences charged. The lyrics may assist you in determining what Mr. McCullough did, why he did it and what he was thinking when he did it.”

McCullough, 22, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and offering an indignity to a dead body in 20-year-old Fraser’s death two and a half years ago.

The poem — the latest piece of tough-to-digest evidence at the grisly trial — first discussed breaking someone’s jaw and ramming a knife through their stomach.

It then contained the lines: “I’ll go through your whole crew, a routine I’m used to. Chop ’em up, mail their parts to you.”

Pomerance instructed the jury to first consider whether the poem could be a form of artistic expression and noted that people sometimes write poems or songs about activities they have no intention of performing.

If jurors conclude McCullough’s interest in the poem was more than “purely artistic,” they must then consider what McCullough thought its lines referred to.

“Do they refer to killing, dismemberment and cannibalism, or do they refer to something else?” Pomerance said. “You can only consider this evidence as it relates to Mr. McCullough’s intention and state of mind at the time he killed Mr. Fraser and dismembered Mr. Fraser’s body.”

The trial has heard that Fraser and McCullough took a cab from Orangeville, Ont., where they lived, to London late on a Saturday night, with Fraser clearly intoxicated at the time.

The jury has heard that the men checked into a Travelodge, where McCullough gave a fake name, a fake address and paid for the room in cash. He later asked to extend his stay and emphasized that he did not want any housekeeping.

The trial heard that later on the Sunday, two young men visited McCullough in the hotel room where they saw two hockey style bags in the room, which McCullough told them not to touch.

Court has heard that McCullough tried to get one of the men to drive him to northern Ontario and then told the men he had “done something terrible.”

He first told them he had robbed a government building and had thousands of dollars of stolen property in the bags in the room, the trial heard.

He then told them he had robbed the government building with a gang member from Toronto and they had killed someone in the process, cut up the person’s body and put some of the body parts in the bags that were in the room, court heard.

McCullough called 911 himself later that day, saying repeatedly “someone is dead and I am unarmed.”

Police officers initially didn’t notice anything amiss in the tidy hotel room where McCullough had been staying, the trial has heard. It was only when an officer unzipped one of the hockey bags on the floor that police realized there were human remains in the room.

An expert in DNA and body fluid analysis who testified later Tuesday told the court that forensic testing revealed blood in a number of locations, particularly the bathroom.

Tricia Miller, with the Centre of Forensic Science in Toronto, told the court blood was detected on swabs taken from the bathtub, tub drain, toilet bowl, garbage can and bathroom floor. Blood was also detected on swabs taken from the room carpet, the bedskirt and from a bottle of alcohol on a bedside table, she said.

Blood stains were also found on McCullough’s pants, a shoe, a sock and on a knife and knife sharpener found in the room, Miller said.

The jury has been told Fraser was stabbed more than 20 times, was decapitated and had his arms and legs severed from his body.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw says the greater lag time between first and second doses will allow more Albertans to be effectively vaccinated sooner. (File photo)
Alberta extends time between vaccine doses means more people to get shot sooner

National Advisory Committee on Immunization says doses can be to up to four months apart

People watch the sun set in the Red Sea port city of Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, Monday, Jan. 18, 2021. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)
OPEC cartel, allies face decision on increasing oil output

OPEC Plus made deep cuts in output in 2020 to stave off a collapse in prices

The Twitter Canada office in Toronto is shown in this undated handout photo. Twitter Inc. will be bulking up on Canadian talent this year with a hiring spree meant to add dozens of engineers in the country to its staff. The San Francisco, Calif.-based social media giant said Thursday that it plans to form its first Canadian engineering hub with at least 24 new workers it will soon hire. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Twitter Canada
Twitter to launch engineering hub in Canada with dozens of hires this year

Twitter says technical talent has been evolving in the Canada recently

Jim Lowes, a living kidney donor who was inspired by Humboldt Broncos bus crash victim Logan Boulet, is photographed at his home in Burlington, Ont., on Thursday, Feb. 25, 2021. Green Shirt Day, April 7, was started after the crash that killed 16 people and coincides with the anniversary of Logan Boulet’s death. Boulet’s family donated his organs after the crash. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Peter Power
Three years after Broncos bus crash, Logan Boulet still inspiring organ donation

Nearly 147,000 Canadians registered to be donors in two months

FILE - In this Feb. 23, 2021, file photo, a vehicle rests on its side after a rollover accident involving golfer Tiger Woods in the Rancho Palos Verdes suburb of Los Angeles. Detectives are looking at data from the so-called “black box” of Tiger Woods’ SUV to get a clearer picture of what occurred during the Southern California rollover crash last week that seriously injured the golf star, authorities said Wednesday, March 3. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
Detectives look at SUV’s ‘black box’ from Tiger Woods crash

California law allows law enforcement to seek search warrants for data recorders

FILE - In this Jan. 30, 2019 file photo, Alex Kurtzman, from left, Heather Kadin, Anson Mount, Sonequa Martin-Green and Ethan Peck participate in the “Star Trek: Discovery” show panel during the CBS All Access presentation at the Television Critics Association Winter Press Tour at The Langham Huntington in Pasadena, Calif. Paramount+ debuts Thursday, March 4, 2021 as the latest — and last — streaming option from a major media company, this time from ViacomCBS. The company hopes its smorgasbord of offerings — live sports and news, reboots of its properties like “Frasier” and “Rugrats,” original shows like “Star Trek: Discovery” and the ViacomCBS library will entice viewers(Photo by Willy Sanjuan/Invision/AP, File)
Will Paramount+ be a mountain or a molehill in streaming?

Over the last year and a half more and more streaming services have debuted

Red Deer Regional Hospital Centre can accommodate up to 20 patients requiring a ventilator, says Alberta Health Services.  File photo by Advocate staff
Opinion: UCP government reneging on Red Deer hospital funding

Another year, another Alberta budget and another blow to central Albertans. Budget… Continue reading

Seattle Storm guards Sue Bird, right, and Jordin Canada pose for photos Wednesday, March 3, 2021, on the roof of the Space Needle in Seattle after they raised a flag with the team's new logo on it. Bird re-signed with the Storm earlier in the week. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)
Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Sue Bird staying busy with 20th Seattle season on horizon

Lille players celebrate after Jonathan David scored his side's second goal during the French League One soccer match between Lille and Marseille at the Stade Pierre Mauroy stadium in Villeneuve-d'Ascq, France, Wednesday, March 3, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Spingler)
David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

David scores 2 as Lille wins to stay two points clear of PSG

Canada defender Shelina Zadorsky, right, passes the ball in front of Argentina forward Sole Jaimes (9) during the second half of a SheBelieves Cup women's soccer match, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021, in Orlando, Fla. Alphonso Davies and Shelina Zadorsky have been named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Phelan M. Ebenhack
Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Davies, Zadorsky named Canada Soccer’s players of the month for February

Most Read