Man accused of killing toddler in drunken patio crash abducted, beaten: Cops

Man accused of killing toddler in drunken patio crash abducted, beaten: Cops
By Tony Blais , Edmonton Sun
First posted: Friday, January 23, 2015 06:13 PM EST | Updated: Friday, January 23, 2015 06:30 PM EST
EDMONTON — Edmonton police are investigating after a city man accused of driving into a restaurant patio and killing a toddler while allegedly drunk was abducted and beaten.
Richard Alan Suter, 64, was taken from his home about 11 p.m. Thursday and "seriously assaulted,” his lawyer said.
He is now in hospital being treated for his injuries, defence lawyer Dino Bottos, who visited him at the hospital Friday, said.
"It was a very serious assault," Bottos said.
Bottos — who is representing Suter on his upcoming trial for impaired driving causing death, three counts of impaired driving causing bodily harm and refusing to provide a breath sample — would not comment on whether he believed the attack was linked to the case.
City police would only say they are investigating the "alleged abduction and subsequent release" of a man in southwest Edmonton, and that a man was taken to hospital for non-life threatening injuries.
Police also asked anyone with information about the alleged attack to contact police or CrimeStoppers.
Suter recently scheduled a jury trial in Court of Queen's Bench to run from Oct. 5 to Nov. 6.
He is charged in the May 19, 2013, death of two-year-old Geo Mounsef.
Police have said they believe Suter had been having an argument with his spouse when he got into a blue Acura SUV parked in front of the patio at Ric's Grill just before 8 p.m.
But, instead of putting the SUV into reverse, he put it in drive and climbed over the curb, drove through the railing and pinned the toddler against the wall, police said.
The boy was rushed to hospital, where he died later from his injuries. Two other family members and a waitress were injured.
At Suter's previous court appearances, there have been issues regarding the victim's family.
At a Provincial Court ruling ordering Suter to stand trial following a preliminary hearing, the victim's parents, Sage Morin and George Mounsef, were asked to leave the courtroom as they are witnesses in the case and there was a witness exclusion order in place.
However, just before leaving, Mounsef stood directly behind Suter and waited until the accused turned and looked at him and then gave him a lengthy stare.
At the beginning of the preliminary hearing, the judge issued a stern warning saying that no courtroom outbursts would be tolerated— including heavy sighs and head shaking — and offenders would be forcibly removed.
At a May 24, 2013, hearing where Suter was released on bail, the victim's father stood and launched a profanity-laced tirade against the accused and several others yelled out comments about the decision to grant bail.
There have also been several incidents at the courthouse where sheriffs were called to escort Bottos from courtrooms because he and other lawyers were being yelled at.
Edmonton Police Service officers investigate after an Acura MDX SUV crashed into a Ric's Grill near Rabbit Hill Road and 23 Avenue in Edmonton, Alta., on Sunday, May 19, 2013. A family was taken to hospital after the crash, which occurred around 8 p.m.. Ian Kucerak/Edmonton Sun

Geo Mounsef, a two-year-old boy killed when an SUV crashed into the busy patio of Ric's Grill, at 23 Avenue and Rabbit Hill Road the evening of Sunday, May 19. (Edmonton Sun)

Man accused of killing toddler in drunken patio crash abducted, beaten: Cops | C
An Edmonton man was found guilty Wednesday of being one of three men who abducted and chopped off the thumb of a man who killed a young boy when he drove into a restaurant patio.

Steven Gordon Vollrath, 33, was convicted of kidnapping, aggravated assault, possession of a dangerous weapon and impersonating police in connection with the Jan. 22, 2015, abduction of Richard Suter.

Provincial court Judge Elizabeth Johnson ruled in a written decision that she found Suter’s evidence at trial identifying Vollrath as one of his attackers to be “compelling.”

“All of these circumstances are consistent with the conclusion that the accused was one of Mr. Suter’s attackers,” said Johnson.

“Taken as a whole, the evidence is inconsistent with any other rational conclusion.”

The judge said she was satisfied beyond a reasonable doubt that Vollrath impersonated a police officer and kidnapped Suter and, while the evidence did not establish who cut off Suter’s thumb, she said Vollrath was involved in the planned abduction and aggravated assault and therefore “responsible” for the result.

During the trial, Suter, 65, testified about being forcibly taken from his Riverbend home by three men posing as police officers, then driven to an isolated area where his thumb was chopped off with pruning shears and being beaten unconscious.

Suter also told court he was informed by one of his three assailants that the attack was related to the restaurant patio killing.

Suter also testified that he identified Vollrath in a police photo lineup as being one of the trio involved in the “horrific” attack and said he was 90-per-cent sure he was one of the culprits.

Court also heard about the contents of a fanny pack found at the scene, including three pieces of Vollrath’s ID and a cellphone linked to phone records associated to a “Diamond” Vollrath, and the fact Vollrath has the word “Diamond” tattooed across his torso.

The other two attackers have never been identified.

Meanwhile, Suter was sentenced to four months in jail on Dec. 17, 2015, after earlier pleading guilty to refusing to provide a breath sample where death ensued. He was also banned from driving for 30 months following his release.

Suter’s SUV crashed into the table where Geo Mounsef was sitting with his parents and baby brother at Ric’s Grill in May 2013.

Suter testified he was not impaired, but became distracted while arguing with his wife as he was parking, and “hit the gas pedal instead of the brake.”

Both the Crown and Suter have appealed the sentence, although Suter has already served the time.

A sentencing hearing is scheduled for June 17.


Edmonton man guilty in revenge attack on driver who plowed into patio and killed a young boy | National Post
The guy who beat the scum up will likely serve more time for that than the scum himself.