3Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014
Accused in ﬂames, witness recalls
Farshad Badakhshan has pleaded not guilty to charges of ﬁrst-degree murder.
ILLUSTRATION COURTESY LUCY WEISSFLOG
A nightmare on Gould Street
speaks to city experts to get their take on the chipping paint on Rye’s walkway
By Jennifer Ferreira
Gould Street’s new paint job was damaged by the winter snowfall that blanketed the campus in December
PHOTO: FARNIA FEKRI
For Ryerson University students, the new school year began with one distinct change — a fresh layer of yellow paint on Gould Street.Parts of both Gould and Vic-toria streets were covered in a bright yellow paint in what was just phase one of larger project in-tended to give the campus a much needed makeover. Fast-forward almost ﬁve months, add a few coats of blue paint and Ryerson is now the owner of a colourful street whose paint has since chipped and faded, despite the $195,000 price tag.Now, amidst apologies for rushed work, questions as to who will fork over the repair costs and the possibility of a new paint treatment have arisen. A confused student body has been left to make sense of the situation as the rest of the city watches.Nevertheless, it’s clear the paint job has got people like Ward 27 Coun. Kristyn Wong-Tam talking.“I think the [school’s] admin-istration is just as disappointed as I am,” Wong-Tam told the
“I’d imagine they’re going to look into it.”But even with the poor result, Wong-Tam commended the uni-versity for its ambitious plans to revamp the school’s pedestrian space.“I’m conﬁdent Ryerson had the right strategic thinking,” Wong-Tam said, calling the idea “quite extraordinary.”“I’m pleased to know that Ry-erson will not dream small,” she said.Others like Mark Van Elsberg, project manager for pedestrian projects for the city of Toronto, also praised the university on its efforts to add a more visual com-ponent to its urban campus.“It’s really an amazing way to transform people’s perception of a roadway,” Van Elsberg told the
. “Ryerson is a real leader for showing innovation.”The design, which included blue pathways shaped like rivers lead-ing to various buildings on cam-pus, acts as a tribute to Taddle Creek, a waterway that once trav-elled through the city long ago.But Van Elsberg also acknowl-edged the difﬁculty that often comes with working with paint.“It’s hard to say where the ad-hesion issues stem from,” he said about the blue epoxy paint, which is meant to prevent deterioration and avoid dirt build-up. “While it could be because the paint sticks better to older or newer asphalt, the rough weather Toronto’s been having certainly hasn’t helped.” Christopher De Sousa, Ryer-son’s director for the School of Urban and Regional Planning, also agreed that painting a road is “not an easy thing to do,” but said that people need to focus more on the positive aspects of the situa-tion rather than the negative ones.“I thought [painting the roads] was a pretty good thing,” De Sousa said. “Finally people are starting to know we’re marking a space.”De Sousa said that this relates to what he feels is a historical prob-lem Ryerson has faced for many years — a lack of distinction of the university’s place in downtown Toronto. He said that it needs to establish itself as a place students can truly call home. This is some-thing that De Sousa believes is es-pecially important for those who commute to the university.“Urban schools have this chal-lenge — how do you make it a campus?”Christopher Hume, the
urban affairs columnist, doesn’t think “street exercises” like painting the road are neces-sary.
ROAD continued on page 5
By Jake Scott and Laura Woodward
On the morning of July 2 2010, witness Jai Sarin said he watched alleged murderer Farshad Bada-khshan walk down the hall of a Huron Street house as its basement was engulfed in ﬂames. Sarin, who along with Badakhshan was a resi-dent of 502 Huron St., explained how he walked behind Badakh-shan while attempting to extin-guish the ﬂames along his back and shoulders with his hands. “I can’t say what went through my mind, but my body moved to-ward him very quickly and I tried to pat out the ﬂames with my hands,” Sarin testiﬁed in front of a superior court jury on Tuesday, Jan. 28.Badakhshan, 31, is accused of murdering his then-girlfriend, Ca-rina Petrache, on July 2, 2010. Badakhshan allegedly stabbed the 23-year-old in her torso before he allegedly proceeded to slit her throat and light her on ﬁre — while also igniting himself and the Annex residence’s basement in the process.Badakhshan has pleaded not guilty on the grounds that he is not criminally responsible by reason of mental illness. According to Sarin’s testi-mony, Badakhshan, referred to as “Shawn,” was walking away from Sarin and into the communal kitchen. Badakhshan then sat on a kitchen chair as Sarin continued to try to put out the ﬂames. “The clothes were smoldering,” Sarin said. “They were difﬁcult to put out because of the material.”Sarin noted that Badakhshan was silent when he sat down. It was then that Sarin noticed the body on the ﬂoor.“Carina was in the kitchen as well,” Sarin said. “She was lying on the ﬂoor on her side.”Shortly after, Volodymyr Seliva-nov, another tenant of the Huron Street house and witness in the on-going murder trial, walked into the room. “That was when [Selivanov] en-tered,” Sarin said. “I’ll never for-get the look on his face. He was stunned. His jaw dropped and then froze. That was when I tried to snap him out of it. I said, ‘Get me [a] blanket and dial 911.’”Selivanov testiﬁed in front of a jury on Jan. 27.Prior to this incident, Sarin said he saw “subtle tension and power dynamics” between the accused and the victim.“My judgment of that interac-tion was one of bullying,” he said. Two other witnesses took the stand on Tuesday — 46-year-old Ngawang Sangpo testiﬁed that he witnessed Selivanov pull Petrache from the burning building after bringing out his computer.The other witness, Steve Masse, was questioned about his prior tes-timony.“[Selivanov] went back into the house and dragged the girl out. He was literally dragging the girl, holding her two hands,” Sangpo said. “She was burned. She was wearing a bra and tight shorts. The clothes were sticking to her ﬂesh. I recognized her as a resident of the ﬁrst ﬂoor.”After leaving the burning build-ing, Sangpo said he walked around the outside of the house to see if there were any other residents in-side. “I saw the basement on ﬁre — ﬁre meaning something making smoke — and the basement win-dow was broken like someone had hit it,” Sangpo said.Sangpo said he saw a man through the kitchen window mo-ments later. He said the man made no attempts to escape the ﬂames or open the window. Sangpo was unable to identify the man because his face was “too black, not like skin.”Badakhshan suffered severe burns and has had skin-grafting operations since the incident. He now requires a wheelchair.The trial continues.