Another accused changes plea in 2022 killing of Justin Breau in Saint John

Another of the six people charged in the 2022 stabbing death of Justin Breau has pleaded guilty.

Evan Louis Tobias, 29, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter. He will be sentenced on Aug. 26.

Like the other five charged in Breau's death, Tobias was originally charged with first-degree murder before pleading guilty to the lesser offence, although exactly what his role was is protected by a sweeping publication ban that will remain in effect until the last accused is dealt with.

Three others have already pleaded guilty to lesser offences and been sentenced.

That means there are only two men still awaiting trial on a charge of first-degree murder. They are Charles William Shatford, 48, and Donald Robert Walker, 51. A six-week trial is scheduled for the fall.

The most recent of the accused to be sentenced was Dustin Trey Walker-Hammond, 25, the youngest of the six charged. Last month, he was sentenced to two years less a day for manslaughter for his role in Breau's death, although the publication ban prevents those details from being disclosed.

Sarah Jean Belzil, 37, and Travis Earl Boudreau, 34, were sentenced earlier this month for their role in the 2022 death of Justin Breau.
Sarah Jean Belzil, 37, and Travis Earl Boudreau, 34, were sentenced in April for their role in the 2022 death of Justin Breau. (Saint John Police Force and Travis Boudreau/Facebook)

Walker-Hammond spent 472 days in jail on remand. According to the usual sentencing protocol, he was given credit for time-and-a-half while on remand, which amounts to 708 days. He was sentenced to serve an additional 21 days.

Two others were dealt with in April.

Travis Earl Boudreau, 34, and Sarah Jean Belzil, 37, pleaded guilty to being accessories.

Boudreau, who was given credit for 22 months served on remand, was given a conditional sentence of one year to be served in the community. The first six months will be served under house arrest and the final six months on a curfew of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Sarah Jean Belzil, 37, who spent 7½ months in jail on remand before being released on house arrest, was given a one-year conditional sentence to be served in the community. She was also given a curfew of 8 p.m. to 8 a.m.

2 more awaiting 1st-degree murder trial

Because two others are awaiting a jury trial later this year on first-degree murder, the publication ban will remain in effect until all other bans in the case are lifted. The ban prevents much of what has been heard in court over the last few months from being published, but at the time of his death, police said Breau died after being stabbed in his Charles Street apartment after three masked men broke in.

Justin Breau, 37, is on trial in Saint John for second-degree murder in the 2019 death of Mark Shatford.
At the time of his death, police said Justin Breau died after being stabbed in his Charles Street apartment after three masked men broke in on Aug. 17, 2022. (Justin Breau/Facebook)

Between January and March 2023, six people were arrested by Saint John police and eventually charged with first-degree murder.

One of the men still awaiting trial, Charles Shatford, has a well-known connection with Breau, who was found not guilty in December 2020 of murdering Shatford's brother, Mark.

Several weeks have been set aside for the trial, beginning in September.