The Village of Zeballos. The Ehattesaht Reserve is located to the left and cannot be seen in this photo.

Dramatic 911 call heard at manslaughter trial

Marguerite John, 33, is charged in the stabbing death of Russell John, 42

The final hour of Russell John’s life plays out on a 911 audio recording moments after his common-law wife stabs him in the heart.

“Wake up. Wake up,” pleads Marguerite (Toni) John.

But Russell John doesn’t respond and never will.

He’s bleeding profusely from a single stab wound to the middle of his chest which broke through the soft ribcage cartilage, perforated the pericardium sac, and entered his heart.

It’s around 10 a.m., on March 7, 2009, and Russell John is dying in his uncle’s home on the Ehattesaht Reserve located beside the isolated West Coast village of Zeballos.

“He’s bleeding to death!” Marguerite tells the ambulance operator. “I stabbed him in the chest…he’s bleeding to death, we need an ambulance fast!…Russell, wake up!”

In a calm voice, the male operator instructs Marguerite to get a clean towel and apply pressure to the wound.

But she’s already pressing Russell’s blood-soaked T-shirt to his chest.

“There’s blood all over!” she says as the blood forms a four-foot pool on the floor.

Russell John is 42 years old, stands 5’8”, and weighs 170 pounds. Until now, he’s lived in relatively good health.

An autopsy later reveals a lump of scar tissue on his upper chest and a fatty liver, an indication of long-time alcohol abuse.

On the night before he dies, Russell and Marguerite drink heavily.

An empty 40-ounce bottle of Smirnoff vodka is found in a nearby trailer where they’ve been partying and fighting, and Marguerite tells the ambulance operator she’s still drunk.

“We fight a lot…I just wanted him to stop,” she sobs. “I don’t know what I’m going to do – (I’m) scared…he beats me up all the time…I get tired of it.”

The night of drinking and fighting ends when Russell retreats to his uncle’s home. The next morning, as the snowfall gives way to sunshine, Marguerite walks to the house, apparently to make amends with Russell, when everything goes wrong.

She stabs him and he collapses onto a couch, where he slips into unconsciousness, with his head slumped towards his chest.

But Russell’s heart continues beating and pumps out several litres of blood through the hole in his chest.

His heavy breathing turns to snores, but then his breathing becomes shorter and shallower as the blood pressure drops.

“I’m losing him!” cries Marguerite. “He’s not breathing, but I can feel his heart…Russell, Russell, I need you to breathe!”

The operator tells Marguerite to get Russell onto the floor. He then instructs her how to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).

She blows quick breaths into his mouth and then pumps his chest to keep the heart going and the blood pressure up.

“It’s a really tough situation. You’re doing great,” the operator reassures her. “Keep doing it over and over. Don’t give up!”

Finally, an ambulance paramedic and a volunteer firefighter arrive. The paramedic is Ernie Smith who’s known Russell all his life.

“His heart is still beating, but he’s slowing down,” Smith tells the operator.

Smith knows Russell’s life is in jeopardy and they need to get him on air ambulance and to hospital as fast as possible.

He’s bundled onto a stretcher and taken by ambulance to the nearby ball field where the helicopter will land.

Marguerite is in the ambulance too as Russell’s life begins to slip away.

She watches as Smith and the volunteer firefighters take turns performing CPR, but eventually she can’t take it anymore and leaves.

Smith and the firefighters continue their efforts for 40 minutes when protocol dictates they only need to do CPR for 30 minutes. Smith is finally told to stop and Russell John dies in the back of an ambulance without ever regaining consciousness.

When police finally arrive from Port McNeill, Marguerite John is arrested and charged with murder. The charge is later reduced to manslaughter.

The 33-year-old has pleaded not guilty to the charge and is currently being tried by Justice Douglas Halfyard in B.C. Supreme Court.

The trial is expected to continue next week in Campbell River.

E-mail paulr@campbellrivermirror.com

 

Just Posted

Man exposes himself to woman waiting for bus in Campbell River

Police responded to a complaint that a male had exposed himself to… Continue reading

John Hart Generating Station officially fully operational

Still a few finishing touches, and more more work on the Campbell River system in the coming years

VIDEO: Drivers swerve to avoid giant potholes on dangerous road near Campbell River

Confusion reigns over responsibility for road maintenance north of John Hart Dam

Strathcona Regional District wants to develop wildfire plans for more areas

Board passes motion to apply for grant to fund planning work for Area A, Read Island

B.C. to move salmon farms out of coastal migration route

Broughton Archipelago plan set to start in spring of 2019

VIDEO: Drivers swerve to avoid giant potholes on dangerous road near Campbell River

Confusion reigns over responsibility for road maintenance north of John Hart Dam

Man rescued from sinking boat off the coast of Vancouver Island

Mayday call came into Coast Guard saying vessel had taken on water, BC Ferries dispatched to scene

Publication ban on name of girl killed in Abbotsford school lifted

Reimer’s family had supported an application by Black Press to lift ban

B.C. securities regulator probes ‘most expansive’ alleged trading scheme in its history

Liht Cannabis Corp states it’s doing internal investigation, welcomes BC Securities Commission probe

Air passenger rights: 6 things about what the Liberals are offering

For 3- to 6-hour delays, compensation is $400. Between 6 and 9 hours, $700. Over 9 hours is $1,000

Descoteau’s mother, girlfriend reflect on tribulations of murder trial in Island city

Friends a strong support system in getting through testimony details

RCMP, civilian vehicles rammed in North Okanagan incident

Police attempt to stop truck near Enderby, thought to be tied to alleged Salmon Arm armed robbery

New biker gang with ties to Hells Angels crops up in Lower Mainland

The Street Reapers were formed late last year and have been seen in Fort Langley.

10-lane George Massey bridge too big, B.C. study says

Consultants say replacement tunnel cost similar to new bridge

Most Read