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Man charged in Toronto subway homicide has case put over to December


TORONTO — A man accused of killing an elderly stranger by shoving him in front of a Toronto subway train had his case put over to December after a brief court hearing on Tuesday.

John Reszetnik, 57, refused to leave his cell to attend the scheduled hearing, his lawyer told the court, but the matter proceeded without him present.

Reszetnik is charged with first-degree murder in the mid-June death of 73-year-old Yosuke Hayahara, who police have alleged was deliberately pushed off the platform at Bloor-Yonge station, where two of the city's primary subway lines connect.

Police have said the two men didn't know each other and no motive for the alleged attack was immediately evident.

Investigators said at the time that the incident was apparently unprovoked.

Reszetnik has had multiple minor interactions with police in the past, Det. Rob North said the day after his arrest in June.

Police have not confirmed, or ruled out the possibility, that mental health issues may have contributed to the incident but will continue to delve into Reszetnik's personal history, North said at the time.

Reszetnik's case will be back in court on Dec. 5 for pretrial motions, and a preliminary hearing has been set for February, court heard.

The incident made national headlines earlier this summer but the organization in charge of the city's transit system said such occurrences are rare.

The Toronto Transit Commission said the last intentional pushing death on the subway took place in 1997.

The accused in that incident, Herbert Cheong, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for pushing 23-year-old Charlene Minkowski in front of an oncoming train.

Psychiatrists called by the defence and the Crown testified that Cheong had schizophrenia and strongly disliked women. He was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years.

The Canadian Press

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