Accused pleads guilty to manslaughter, robbery in random bus stop attack

Nathan Helfrich planned to celebrate his birthday with his twin brother the night he was stabbed to death by a stranger at a north-Edmonton bus stop.

The man who killed him pleaded guilty to manslaughter and robbery Friday in Edmonton Court of Queen’s Bench.

Helfrich and his identical twin brother, Matthew, were waiting at a bus stop on 118th Avenue near 82nd Street just before 11 p.m. on Jan. 24, 2018, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court.

The brothers planned to buy beer and head home to celebrate their shared birthday, which had come the day before.

Jonathan Soosay approached them and asked for a cigarette.

The brothers were using e-cigarettes and did not have cigarettes. Soosay then asked to trade his bus transfer for their tickets. 

When the brothers declined, Soosay asked, “Do you guys want to get hurt? Give me your f—ing glasses.”

Matthew Helfrich noticed “a folding, locking-blade knife” in Soosay’s right hand, according to the agreed statement of facts.

Soosay grabbed Matthew’s glasses and tried to grab his brother’s. When Nathan backed away, Soosay lunged at him, court was told.

Nathan, 28, thought Soosay had struck him in the chest with the butt of the knife and didn’t realize he had been stabbed, court heard.

Soosay ran off. Matthew chased him. Soosay dropped Matthew’s glasses and ball cap, and Matthew picked them up and returned to the bus stop to check on his brother.

Two stab wounds

He noticed his brother turning pale. When police and EMS arrived, Nathan was sitting on a bench with his hands on his legs.

He went into cardiac arrest on his way to the Royal Alexandra Hospital.

An autopsy determined he died of two stab wounds to chest. 

Soosay was arrested on Feb. 7, 2018.

During Friday’s hearing, Soosay leaned forward in the prisoner’s box, elbows on his knees, and stared at the floor.

Soosay passed a message through police to the victim’s family, according to the agreed statement of facts. 

“Sorry I killed your brother … didn’t mean to … hopefully they can forgive me.”

Defence lawyer Douglas Lee requested a Gladue report.

His client is scheduled to be back in court on Aug. 2.

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