Chelios testifies at trial for two slain restaurant employees

Updated: August 9, 2007, 5:12 PM ET
Associated Press

DETROIT -- Red Wings defenseman Chris Chelios testified Thursday that he spoke by phone on his way to hockey practice with a manager at his restaurant minutes before someone fatally stabbed her and a chef.

Chelios, owner of the downtown Cheli's Chili Bar, said Megan Soroka, 49, told him she heard yelling and called out to Mark Barnard, 52.

"She yelled out Mark's name and she didn't hear anything," Chelios testified.

Chelios said Soroka soon returned to the phone and said she should get back to work. A short time later the morning of Jan. 2, authorities say both were stabbed by Justin Blackshere, who had been recently fired from Cheli's as a busboy.

Blackshere, 17, of Detroit, faces mandatory life in prison without parole if convicted as charged. His trial on two murder counts began Monday in Wayne County Circuit Court.

The 44-year-old Chelios said he was at practice when he received a call to go to the restaurant. There, he identified Blackshere in a photograph taken from video surveillance footage.

Police say Blackshere confessed to the killings, and that confession was read to the jury. In it, Blackshere said he went to the restaurant to get his job back.

Blackshere said he left the building after arguing with Barnard, but returned and stabbed the chef several times in the back. He then stabbed Soroka when she walked into the room.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press