Man accused of killing, dismembering woman in 2016 takes stand in own defence

News source from CTV News

The man accused killing, dismembering and dumping the partial remains of a woman behind a Riverdale butcher shop in 2016 took the stand in his own defence today.

Albert Ian Ohab has pleaded guilty to committing an indignity to the body of Melissa Cooper.

However, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of second-degree murder, also laid in connection with her death.

Cooper’s torso was discovered inside a garbage bag, dumped behind a butcher shop near Broadview Avenue and Gerrard Street on April 19, 2016.

Police later identified the remains as belonging to 30-year-old Cooper. She has been reported missing several weeks prior to the grisly discovery.

Ohab was first arrested on April 29, but wasn’t charged with second-degree murder until Aug. 19.

In court on Tuesday, Ohab claimed Cooper died of an overdose on crack cocaine in his apartment.

He told the judge that while Cooper was doing drugs in his bathroom, he shot up heroin on his bed and eventually passed out.

Ohab testified that he woke up in the morning to the smell of vomit and found Cooper lying down on the living room floor.

“I go over to feel her neck. She is cold,” he said. “I start to freak out.”

“I make a decision to put her in the stairwell.”

Ohab told the court that drug users sometimes dump a person in a stairwell when they overdose. He said he tried to do that, but spotted his neighbour in the area and got spooked.

Instead, Ohab said, he brought Cooper back to his bathroom, put her in the tub and dismembered her body.

Police have not released many other details pertaining to the investigation. It is not clear what led police to arrest Ohab.

The testimony continues this afternoon.

With files from CTV News Toronto’s Austin Delaney

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