Although police initially believed an attempted murder on the boardwalk and the murder of Taylor Marshall were not connected, the lead investigator says evidence found Saturday and Sunday has linked suspect Steven Jones to both incidents.
Jones, age 25 of Toronto, was arrested last Thursday at the scene of a brutal stabbing on the Sault Ste. Marie boardwalk, just outside Station Mall. A few hours later, police received word that a body had been discovered inside a John Street apartment, near Cathcart Street.
At a press conference this afternoon, Inspector Brent Duguay told reporters that Jones — who was still in custody at the Algoma Treatment and Remand Centre in connection with the boardwalk incident — was arrested this morning for Taylor Marshall’s murder.
“The result of that arrest was through identifying, in both physical and video evidence, that placed the suspect at or near the scene on John Street, as well as the boardwalk stabbing that occurred the same day,” said Duguay. “Both of those incidents are believed to be random acts of violence and we believe to be only one perpetrator involved.”
The allegations against Jones have not yet been proven in court.
Addressing the hours between the arrest this morning and media release later in the afternoon, Duguay said the delay was necessary.
“We wanted to ensure we had a solid case going before the courts,” he said.
A portrait of the alleged killer is beginning to emerge. Jones entered the community on Sept. 7 from the Sault Ste. Marie point of entry after unsuccessfully attempting to enter the United States.
Duguay said it is believed that Jones was in the John Street area sometime after re-entering Canada.
“We believe he left Canada Customs after an incident that involved U.S. Customs and we were able to track him from that point,” said Duguay.
Two different teams were initially investigating the two crime scenes. Duguay said those teams have been combined now that they suspect there is a connection between the two attacks.
“Later Saturday and into Sunday we were able to gather evidence that showed us there was a link between the two,” said Duguay. “Now that we have identified a crossover those teams will merge and have one lead investigator identified.”
Police have said Jones is based in Toronto, but court documents connected to the boardwalk assault, obtained by SooToday, show he has no fixed address. Duguay was asked to clarify the differing accounts of where the suspect is from.
“At the time of the stabbing we didn’t have information on his background," he said. "We were able to track him through databases that put him to a Toronto address."
Duguay said Jones is known to police in Toronto but he is not aware of any previous arrests or history of violence.
“He had contact with the Toronto Police Service but there were no warrants for his arrest,” said Duguay.
Sault Police are still conducting a background investigation into Jones’ movements, and what led him to Sault Ste. Marie.
Asked about videos of the boardwalk assault that are circulating in the city, Duguay said anyone who thinks they have evidence of the assault should turn it over to police.
“Obviously for those members of the public or community that have accessed the video — I don’t know that I would want to watch it, it’s pretty scary to watch,” he said.
Duguay addressed the anxiety in the community in response to the violent incidents of last week, saying he believes the Sault is safe with Jones behind bars.
“Yes, I would say the fear that was going on in the community over the stabbing and the homicide — this individual is in custody and will be attending bail tomorrow,” said Duguay.
Original story below:
A Toronto man arrested last week for a brutal stabbing on the boardwalk is now charged with first-degree murder in the homicide of 22-year-old Taylor Marshall.
Sault Police announced today that 25-year-old Steven Jones is accused of committing both crimes, back to back, last Thursday.
Police say the accused did not know either of the victims, suggesting both attacks were random acts of violence.
The investigation began last Thursday afternoon, when emergency services were called to the boardwalk outside Station Mall for a report of a stabbing. The victim was rushed to hospital with life-threatening injuries and a suspect was arrested shortly after at a nearby location.
Later that day, at approximately 5 p.m., police were called to a multi-unit residence on John Street, near Cathcart Street, where a young woman was found dead inside.
Police later identified the woman as Taylor Marshall — and said she was the victim of a homicide.
“It was determined the victim sustained significant stab wounds resulting in their death,” says a news release issued today by the Sault Ste. Marie Police Service. “Video and physical evidence lead investigators to tie the accused to the homicide.”
Police allege that Marshall was killed first, and that the suspect then made his way to the boardwalk to commit another stabbing.
Sault Police are holding a 3 p.m. press conference today to provide more details.
Jones remains in custody pending a bail hearing. None of the allegations have been tested in court.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help pay for Marshall's funeral expenses and to take some pressure off her grieving family.