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‘I started seeing red,’ says son accused of brutally dismembering mother in Leslieville home | CBC News

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WARNING: This story contains graphic and disturbing images and details of violence.

A man accused of brutally stabbing and dismembering his mother in an east-end condo before leaving her remains in garbage bags on the street told a Toronto jury that while he came from an abusive home, he never intended to kill his mother.

Dallas Ly, 23, has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder of his mother Tien Ly. He testified Wednesday, telling the court it was never his intention to kill his mother on the night of March 27, 2022.

“I started seeing red, and before I knew it I lost it. I started to swing at her,” Ly said. 

Tien Ly, 46, was stabbed 27 times before she was decapitated and her body parts placed in three garbage bags, autopsy reports revealed. The mother lived with her son in a condo building on Carlaw Avenue and Dundas Street East. She suffered a deep stab wound on the left side of her neck, along with other wounds found on her face, neck, and arms. 

Toronto police were notified the next day, on March 28, 2022 after a passerby discovered remains in a garbage bag, near the intersection of Eastern Avenue and Berkshire Avenue, west of Leslie Street.

Shortly after 8 p.m. on March 27, when his mother returned home from work, Ly said that he had informed her about plans to move out to live with his aunt. His mother became enraged and had a “furious look” on her face, he said, and began to shout at him in Vietnamese. 

From left to right: Defence lawyer Jessyca Greenwood, defence co-counsel Marco Sciarra, Justice Alfred O’Marra, Dallas Ly and Crown attorney Jaye Spare. Ly testified Wednesday that his mother would abuse him, showing court how his mother struck him in the jaw when he tried to leave their home on the night of March 27, 2022. (Pam Davies/CBC)

Ly claimed that she had threatened to kill both him and his aunt, and told him that he owed her $25,000 in rent. Ly, who was 21 at the time, then went to his bedroom to gather himself and grabbed an already packed bag of clothes, court heard.

He said his mother then yelled at him, “Come here right now, and if you don’t, I’m going to beat you to death.”

Ly said the two had a confrontation at the front door of their condo. He had asked his mother to move away from the door to let him leave but she refused. 

He said that his mother told him, “I hope I see you hungry and homeless on Yonge Street. When you go to your grave, I’m not going to come visit you. I hope you both die,” referring to him and his aunt.

He said that’s when his mother began to punch him in the jaw. 

Ly then started to swing at her with a hunting knife. When the knife landed in the middle of her neck, she fell to the ground, he said.

At that moment, Ly said he was in disbelief and went to calm himself down.

Man with a cart full of garbage bags in an elevator.
Dallas Ly leaves his Leslieville condo apartment where he lived with his mother at the time, with a grocery cart full of trash bags, which the Crown alleged contained his mother’s dismembered body. (Court exhibit)

He recalled putting her body into garbage bags, trying to clean the apartment and leaving with her remains in a shopping cart. Initially, Ly said he intended to go to Tommy Thompson Park on Leslie Street, but after hitting a curb that caused the cart to fall to the ground, he left her remains on the sidewalk and turned back around.

“My mother began to sprawl out of bags. At that point I realized what I was doing was so wrong and I couldn’t keep going through with it,” Ly told the court.  

“So I decided to hide it on the side of the road and run back home.” 

When her remains were found, police sought the public’s help in finding Ly, who at the time had gone missing, but was not yet named a suspect. 

A dirty pair of black work gloves.
Toronto police said they found a backpack near the door, which contained a hunting knife with red stains along with a pair of black work gloves. (Court Exhibit)

Ly said he had made an attempt to flee the country after he got back home. He first went to Toronto Pearson Airport before heading to Niagara Falls but was denied travel both times. It is unclear why he was denied.

Ly was arrested and charged with Tien’s death on April 2.

Ly details abusive relationship with mother

Defence lawyer Marco Sciarra previously told the jury that Ly endured physical, psychological and emotional abuse from his mother.

On Wednesday, Sciarra’s co-defence lawyer, Jessyca Greenwood, switched gears from detailing the night of the stabbing and aftermath, to ask about Ly’s relationship with his mother. 

Ly said that one of his earliest memories was when he was six-years-old and failed an English test, which resulted in his mother slapping his wrist and scolding him. 

That’s when the abuse escalated, he said, adding that his mother would beat him and leave scars on his body with tools and strikes across the face.

“She would strike me over the back with certain tools. Primarily a backscratcher, shoehorns, slippers and thrown bowls and plates,” he said. 

WATCH | Ly, accused of stabbing and dismembering his mother, testifies in court: 

Son accused of murdering, dismembering mother testifies at trial

A Toronto man charged with murdering his mother testified in his own defense on Wednesday. Dallas Ly is accused of stabbing and dismembering his mother Thanh “Tien” Ly in their Leslieville condo in March 2022. Tyler Cheese has more from the courthouse.

Ly told the court that Tien was very strict about his grades, and would call him a “stupid kid,” when he would underperform.

“I grew up in Canada, unlike her, and I had a lot of opportunities … I was supposed to be a good and successful child,” Ly recalled his mother telling him.

Woman enters lobby with luggage in hand.
Tien Ly returns home with a suitcase full of dirty towels on the Sunday evening of March 27, 2022, after a day of work at her nail salon. Crown said she was brutally killed in her home shortly after returning after 8 p.m. (Court Exhibit)

Last week, Justice Alfred O’Marra told the jury it can accept as fact that Ly killed his mother inside their Leslieville condo.

Court previously heard that both Ly and his mother worked at a nail salon at Yonge Street and Davenport Road, that his mother owned.

Dallas Ly’s aunt, Huyen Ly, who also worked at the nail salon testified in court last week. She described the mother and son’s relationship as “sometimes affectionate.”

Huyen told the jury that her sister would at times call Dallas “lazy” and “not intelligent.”

Jury shown surveillance footage of Ly with garbage bags

Last week, assistant Crown attorney Jay Spare showed the jury several videos of the accused carrying trash bags out of his apartment on the night his mother disappeared.

Spare previously said that Ly admitted that he had killed his mother, despite pleading not guilty to second-degree murder. 

Last Wednesday, the jury was shown several videos of the accused leaving his home on Carlaw Avenue just after midnight on March 28, 2022. 

A crime scene with yellow tape cordoned off.
Police were notified on March 28, 2022 after a passerby discovered a body in a black garbage bag, near the intersection of Eastern and Berkshire avenues, west of Leslie Street. The Crown said police found the decapitated body of a woman in a black bag. A nearby bag contained a head. (Court Exhibit)

Surveillance cameras from the condo building show Tien entering the building just after 8 p.m. on March 27, 2022.

Around midnight, a person appears to enter an elevator pushing a white cart full of garbage bags in hand. The person, dressed in grey pants and a black parka with a hood carrying a black backpack, was identified in court as Ly. When asked Wednesday by the defence if he was the person in the videos, Ly confirmed. He then leaves the building and walks south on Carlaw Street, then east on Eastern Avenue, and returns after a little over an hour without the cart, videos show.

Spare said police officers who were first on scene determined that the garbage bag contained a decapitated female body. A separate bag close by contained a head.

The Crown had also presented key fob records from Ly’s building that match the surveillance video timestamps.

WATCH | Aunt says Ly’s mother would call him ‘lazy,’ and not intelligent: 

Woman allegedly killed by son had called him lazy, court hears

The sister of Tien Ly, who was allegedly killed by her son, Dallas, testified in court Monday that Ly called Dallas lazy and unintelligent. Dallas is accused of stabbing his mother to death in their Leslieville condo and dismembering her body in March 2022. CBC’s Talia Ricci has more from court.

More than 300 photos taken during police investigation of the condo were entered into evidence. Investigators testified that they found traces of blood all over the unit, from the entry way door into the master bedroom. Cleaning products were also found sprawled across the bathroom in the apartment unit which was turned upside down, photos show.

In a backpack near the door, they found a hunting knife with red stains along with a pair of black work gloves.

The jury also previously heard from three friends of Dallas Ly, who told the court he sent cryptic messages to them in the hours after his mother’s death.

“I want to do so many things Lennan but it isn’t fair. Sorry, I am sure you saw this coming … Live well brother,” one message reads.

Ly is expected to return to the stand Thursday, and a psychiatrist is also set to testify about his mental health.

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