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Man charged with murder in St. John's stabbing

An RNC officer and a member of Rovers Search and Rescue examine a storm sewer at the corner of Alderberry Lane and Mundy Pond Road in search of clues stemming from a stabbing on Thursday.
An RNC officer and a member of Rovers Search and Rescue examine a storm sewer at the corner of Alderberry Lane and Mundy Pond Road in search of clues stemming from a stabbing on Thursday.

Accused murderer Craig Pope didn’t reply when asked by reporters if he had anything to say as he was being led out of provincial court Friday afternoon.

He had been equally silent when he appeared before provincial court judge Jim Walsh, who formally charged the 31-year-old with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of Jonathan Collins, 36, Thursday afternoon.

Pope, who appeared to have a split lip, kept his head down and walked slowly in and out of the courtroom. He has yet to retain a lawyer and was remanded into custody until his next appearance, Sept. 18, with a list of 11 people with whom he is ordered not to have contact.

RNC media relations officer Const. Geoff Higdon said at a Friday news conference that police were called to Alderberry Lane, off Mundy Pond Road in St. John’s, shortly before 3:30 p.m. Thursday and found Collins, who had been stabbed and was unconscious. He was taken to hospital by paramedics, but later died from his injuries.

Higdon said the extent of Collins’ injuries and exact cause of death are under investigation. However, he confirmed that first responders administered CPR to him when they arrived on the scene.

Higdon said Collins and Pope were known to each other, and police don’t believe the stabbing was a random attack.

Court documents indicate Pope lives on Alderberry Lane.

Craig Pope, 31, leaves provincial court in St. John’s Friday afternoon, after being formally charged with second-degree murder in connection with the stabbing death of 36-year-old Jonathan Collins on Alderberry Lane Thursday.

Higdon said police are unsure of what motivated the incident, but they believe it took place outside of the residence. Higdon confirmed the suspect fled the area in a cab. Witness accounts led to Pope’s arrest on Friday, he said.

Higdon confirmed the weapon involved is believed to be a knife, but was did not say whether it has been found.

Pope is no stranger to the courtroom or to prison, having been released from custody on other charges just weeks ago. His criminal record includes convictions for assault, break and entry, drug trafficking, drug possession, impaired driving, theft and falsely reporting a fire, as well as breaches of court orders.

His most recent conviction was July 14, when he earned jail time for charges of criminal harassment, uttering threats, fraud and breaching court orders.

RNC investigators with the Major Crime Unit are looking to speak to anybody who may have witnessed the stabbing. They can be reached at 729-8000 or information can be provided anonymously at 1-800-222-TIPS.

 

Tara.bradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

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