Gas-Dash Killer Of South Asian Found Guilty Of Second Degree Murder

Max Edwin Tutiven was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of gas attendant Jayesh Prajapati in 2012. Tutiven was driving the SUV that dragged and killed Prajapati, the gas attendant who tried to stop him from stealing gas.

TORONTO – A Toronto man has been found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of a South Asian gas attendant in North York in 2012.

Max Edwin Tutiven pleaded not guilty, but admitted at trial that he hit and dragged Jayesh Prajapati, 44, with his SUV after stealing $112.85 worth of gas from the North York Shell station Sept. 15, 2012. Tutiven said he never saw the gas attendant near his vehicle, and did not realize he had hit a person until a couple of days later, reported Toronto Star Newspaper.

Prajapati, 44, died in the hospital after Tutiven’s SUV dragged him down Roselawn Ave. for 78 metres. Prajapati’s body was then dislodged and Tutiven drove away.

Jurors heard closing arguments Friday and then deliberated for six hours Tuesday before reaching a guilty verdict.

“We are obviously very satisfied with the verdict the jury came back with,” said Toronto Homicide Det. Robert North outside the courthouse. “I thought we presented a very strong case against Mr. Tutiven. I am not overly surprised (of the verdict).”

Tutiven was charged with second-degree murder in Montreal in 2015. A second-degree murder charge indicates a killing is intended but not planned.

In his closing arguments, Tutiven’s defence lawyer Edward Sapiano urged the jury to find his client guilty of manslaughter, not murder, indicating Tutivan had no intent to kill Prajapati.

Crown attorney Joseph Callaghan said in his closing argument that Tutiven’s testimony had been a “false narrative” — he saw Prajapati, felt the impact of hitting him and heard people yelling at him to stop.

Resident of a nearby apartment building, Trevor Bell, testified he could hear the sound of Prajapati being dragged in the wheels of the SUV from his 18th-floor unit.

Prajapati was a father and husband. A year after his death, his wife Vaishali Prajapati told the Star he was a caring man, who bathed and dressed her for a week when she broke her arm, played chess with their 12-year-old son every Sunday and worked six days a week.

Regulars from the public housing building across the street said he’d let them pay later for a jug of milk or loaf of bread if they were short cash.

Originally from India, he’d obtained his Canadian citizenship not long before he died.

Tutiven will be sentenced Nov. 1.

Courtesy Toronto Star

Comments are closed