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Sudbury area arson triple homicide: Coroner takes the stand

Dr. Martin Queen, the coroner who performed autopsies on both Guy Henri and Jasmine Somers testified to their cause of death 
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Sudbury Courthouse.

Forensic coroner Dr. Martin Queen took the stand today in the arson triple homicide case against Liam Stinson.

Stinson is on trial for his alleged role in an April 11, 2021, fire that claimed the life of three people and severely injured another. He is facing an arson charge, as well as three counts of first degree murder, one each for the deaths of Guy Henri, Jasmine Somers and Jamie-Lynn Rose.

The day began with an agreed statement of facts being read into the record, concerning what would have been the testimony of GSPS Cst. Jordan Carroll, who was on scene the night of the fatal fire at 744 Bruce Avenue.

Superior Court Justice R. Dan Cornell explained an agreed statement of facts to the jury, and how it’s created when the facts a witness would offer are not in dispute between defence and Crown council.

In addition to noting the times the victims were extricated from the building, and that Carroll rode in the back of the ambulance with David Cheff, who was being taken to HSN for his injuries. The agreed statement said Carroll spoke with Cheff, who “was conscious, and Cst. Carroll was able to have a conversation with him and gather identifying information about Ms. Somers, Ms. Rose, and Mr. Henri,” said Cornell as he read the facts into evidence. 

The Crown then called Dr. Martin Queen. Queen began his education in 1977 and arrived in Sudbury in 1999. He was the first fellowship-trained board-certified forensic pathologist in the history of Northern Ontario, was instrumental in establishing the first regional forensic unit in northern Ontario, and was the founding director and medical director of the unit. 

Queen performed the autopsies on Somers and Henri. 

Both, he said, died of smoke inhalation and carbon monoxide poisoning.  

But while Somers was found with second-degree burns to parts of her body, Henri did not have any, meaning he likely was able to escape the heat of the fire before he succumbed to the smoke.

Queen also spoke to the toxicology reports for each. Both Henri and Somers had methamphetamines and cocaine in their systems, as well as the metabolic byproducts of both drugs. Fentanyl was also detected in Somer’s system.

“Fentanyl is a very, very strong opiate; it's kind of like morphine, except it's much, much, much stronger,” said Queen. “Methamphetamine is speed, uppers, and cocaine is another stimulant drug”

He testified that for a “naive user,” a person who hasn’t used fentanyl before, the fatal level would be three nanograms per millilitre. Somers had 12 nanograms per millilitre, but was a regular user of the drug, and Queen said “12 is actually not that high.”

He also stated she could not have died of a drug overdose. “She wouldn't have shown the signs of smoke inhalation, she wouldn't have the higher carbon monoxide level.” 

While the substances didn’t contribute to Somers’ or Henri’s death, Queen did speculate “it might have contributed to reducing their ability to get out of the fire, get away from the fire, to get out of the building.” 

Defence counsel Joseph Wilkinson asked a few questions of Queen during cross-examination, related to the metabolism of drugs in relation to time of death, but Queen suggested those questions would need to be answered by a toxicologist, as it was outside of his expertise. 

Court resumes March 25 at 10 a.m. 

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with

Jenny Lamothe

About the Author: Jenny Lamothe

Jenny Lamothe is a reporter with She covers the diverse communities of Sudbury, especially the vulnerable or marginalized.
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