Accused in Surrey hockey mom's murder makes first court appearance
A 27-year-old man charged in the murder of Surrey hockey mom Julie Paskall made his first court appearance in Surrey on Monday.
Yosef Jomo Gopaul is charged with second-degree murder in the death of Paskall, who died late last year.
The Integrated Homicide Investigation Team (IHIT) announced the charges at a news conference Saturday afternoon in Surrey.
Gopaul, a man of small stature with close-cropped hair, appeared in Surrey Provincial Court Monday morning wearing a blue fleece zippered jacket.
He appeared to be on edge, scanning the courtroom and occasionally hanging his head.
He was residing in Surrey at the time of Paskall’s murder, but had moved to the city from Brampton, Ontario just eight weeks before. He was arrested Friday afternoon.
Paskall, 53, (below), was waiting for her 14-year-old son outside the Newton Arena near 71 Avenue and 136B Street on Dec. 29, 2013 when she was attacked and clubbed in the head with a blunt object.
She died in hospital Dec. 31, leaving behind her husband Al, teenage son and two adult daughters.
IHIT Officer in Charge Supt. Kevin Hackettcalled the arrest a “significant milestone” in the case.
“Our combined investigative efforts to date have been extensive and included a significant search and canvas of the area, the review of approximately 1,000 hours of video footage, and countless hours of physical surveillance,” Hackett said.
Since Paskall’s murder, police presence, including bike patrols, has been boosted in the Newton neighbourhood around the arena and bus loop.
Paskall was a longtime time keeper with Surrey Minor Hockey. Her son was working as a referee on the evening Paskall was killed. A trust fund was established to assist the family.
Gopaul was arrested Friday – the same day as a concert in Paskall’s honour benefiting Variety The Children’s Charity was planned in Vancouver.
Gopaul’s next court appearance is scheduled for June 13.