Section: NEWS, Pg. A1
A teenager was cleared in a controversial manslaughter case Friday after authorities concluded he stabbed a drunken gang member in self-defence during an armed robbery.
Zachary Schultz, then 18, was charged after the body of John James, 19, was found just before midnight May 12 on a walkway near Cameron Heights Collegiate in Kitchener.
When he was released on bail just one day later, it sparked public protests by relatives of James and members of the local South Sudanese community. Some alleged racism was influencing the case because James was black and Schultz is white.
The manslaughter charge was withdrawn in Kitchener court by Crown ...view middle of the document...
Cullen said the slight teen then came back to get the girl, grabbed his backpack and they ran away together.
James walked away, but collapsed nearby.
He was discovered dead a short time later by people out for a walk.
The gun was found beside him, and the cash and other stolen items were in the pocket of his pants.
Video surveillance footage from the school showed him with the gun in his hand. Tests detected the girl's DNA on its barrel.
Schultz "acted in self-defence and his acts were proportionate to the perceived harm from Mr. James," Cullen said.
James, who had a fresh gang tattoo, had spent the day drinking and smoking marijuana with friends, who saw him with the realistic-looking gun.
He was about six feet, two inches tall and weighed 170 pounds. Schultz, who planned to start college this month, is 5-11 and about 140 pounds.
At the time of the boisterous protests, relatives acknowledged that James - an immigrant from South Sudan whose formal name was Jany James Ruach - had been in trouble with the law.
They also said authorities told them early in the investigation that the stabbing looked like a case of self-defence, a possibility they discounted.
Relatives met with Cullen on Thursday night for an explanation of the outcome of the investigation and they were in court when the charge against Schultz was...