by: Sam Pazzano
Victim Carina Petrache and her accused killer Farshad “Shawn” Badakhshan appeared to resemble “zombies” when the burning couple staggered into the kitchen of their home, her murder trial heard Thursday.
Tenant Peter Charyna testified he thought Petrache, 23, was dressed in a ghoulish costume with magical “fire” and that the thick red line across her neck was a necklace as she tried to scare him as a prank.
But Charyna said he soon realized her throat was actually slit and she was really ablaze. He grabbed some newspapers to save her.
A few minutes later, Charyna noticed Badakhshan with his shorts in flames in the kitchen.
“He looked dazed like a zombie,” the witness said.
Badakhshan, 31, has pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder, but isn’t contesting that he inflicted the fatal wounds and torched the Ryerson University criminology student July 2, 2010.
His defence team is asserting that he is not criminally responsible due to mental disorder.
Charyna testified he burned his fingers trying to extinguish Petrache’s flaming torso. He said Petrache repeatedly whispered to another tenant, “Keep him away from me.”
Another tenant, disability pensioner Volodymyr Selivanov, 42, testified he pulled the dying Petrache out of the kitchen and through the back door.
Selivanov clutched Petrache by the wrists and dragged the petite woman outside where he laid her down, court heard.
“I couldn’t move that fast because of my disability,” Selivanov said.
When the witness entered the kitchen, Badakhshan lay only a few feet from Petrache and Selivanov extinguished flames on the man.
The anguished pair shouted, “Help me,” to their fellow tenants, who detailed the chaotic fire scene that had engulfed the large Victorian dwelling that housed up to 15 people.
In her opening to the jury Monday, Crown attorney Jennifer Stanton said Badakhshan, who was dating Petrache for up to six months, trapped her in his basement bedroom by lighting a fire after slashing her throat.
The fire left the accused with one leg and a grotesquely burned head and face with most of his ears missing, court heard.
The Crown alleges Badakhshan killed her in a planned ambush or while confining her in his basement home. The accused and victim lived in separate units within the three-storey building.