(Coast Salish Territory/Vancouver, B.C. – June 28, 2018) The Union of BC Indian Chiefs (UBCIC) is shocked and outraged that on June 27th, 2018, 28-year-old Peter Khill, a settler living in Hamilton, Ontario, was found not guilty in the murder of Jonathan Styres, a 29-year-old man from Ohsweken, Ontario, part of the Six Nations reserve.
Khill shot Styres at close range on the night of February 4th, 2016, in the driveway of Khill’s Hamilton home. Khill, having heard a noise in his driveway, believed that Styres had a gun and was attempting to steal his truck. Styres was unarmed and gave no indication to Khill that he had a weapon; there was no time for him to do so, as Khill shot him almost immediately upon confrontation.
Khill’s legal counsel convinced the jury that he was acting out of fear for his life and in self-defense, and not out of racial motivation or with the intent to seriously harm Styres. This not guilty verdict was reached despite the fact that Styres was unarmed and shot in the side, despite the fact that Khill ran out of his home with a loaded shotgun, and, despite alleging that he “feared for his life,” Khill and his girlfriend did not call 911 until Styres was already dying.
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President of UBCIC, stated, “The verdict acquitting Peter Khill comes down while we are still reeling from a similar verdict that acquitted Gerald Stanley in the Colton Boushie murder. Essentially, the courts are sending a message that First Nations people don’t matter and therefore Indigenous people are disposable and can be murdered in cold blood with absolutely zero consequences. This is institutionalized racism not reconciliation and must be immediately acknowledged and fixed by the Government of Canada. We are deeply saddened and angered, and we stand in solidarity with the family of Jonathan Styres.”
Grand Chief Stewart Phillip, President, Union of BC Indian Chiefs: 250-490-5314