THUNDER BAY - A man accused in the 2014 death of 32-year-old William Wapoose has pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder and will stand trial next week.
Jonathan Massicotte appeared in a Thunder Bay Courtroom on Friday before Justice Tracey Nieckarz for jury selection.
This is the first jury trial in a criminal matter to be held in the city of Thunder Bay since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A total of 16 jurors will be chosen, with 14 hearing the trial and 12 participating in final deliberations.
Massicotte was first arrested in May 2019 and charged with first-degree murder for his alleged role in Wapoose’s death.
Wapoose’s body was found on a bike path at the south end of Chapples Park Drive on the morning of Sept. 3, 2014.
The five-year investigation included numerous interviews conducted by police as well as a $50,000 reward offered for any information that could lead to an arrest.
On Friday, Massicotte was arraigned on the lesser charge of second-degree murder to which he pleaded not guilty.
A 22-year-old male was also arrested and charged with first-degree murder in 2019 but cannot be named because he was a youth at the time of the offence. The charge against the second accused has also been reduced to second-degree murder and he is expected to stand trial in October 2022.
After being released on bail in June 2020, Massicotte has pleaded guilty to breaching the conditions of his release order on two separate occasions. The most recent breach resulted in a sentence of 60 days in custody, though with credit of 45 days of pre-sentence custody, he served 15 days.
The second-degree murder trial against Massicotte is expected to start on Monday, May 16 and is scheduled for two weeks. Crown Attorney Trevor Jukes indicated to the court that he intends to call between 10 and 17 witnesses to testify. Massicotte is represented by local defense attorney George Joseph.