Man who pushed stranger in front of subway sentenced to life, no parole for 14 years


TORONTO — A Toronto man who pushed a stranger in front of a moving subway train nearly three years ago has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 14 years.

John Reszetnik had pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder in the killing of 73-year-old Yosuke Hayahara.

Second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 to 25 years, and prosecutors had sought 15 years of parole ineligibility, while the defence sought 12 to 13.

Reszetnik’s mental state at the time of the June 18, 2018 incident was a key issue during sentencing submissions.

Though he was deemed fit to stand trial, court heard Reszetnik, 56, refused to participate in any other psychiatric assessment.

The presiding judge, Ontario Superior Court Justice John McMahon, said at the time that the lack of psychiatric information on Reszetnik was “troubling.”

Reszetnik pushed Hayahara, whom he did not know, in front of an incoming train at Toronto’s Bloor-Yonge station just before 10:15 a.m. that day, according to an agreed statement of fact read in court.

The station was evacuated and Reszetnik left the scene, though he came back soon after. On his return, he told both a firefighter and a police officer that he was the one behind the attack.

He told the police officer he “freaked out” because he was getting evicted, the statement said.

“I imagined my landlord who, he’s evicting me, and I can’t find a place, and I’ll be homeless. I really did it. It’s no joke. I killed him, for God’s sakes,” he told the officer.

During sentencing submissions, however, court heard Reszetnik was not being evicted but had in fact voluntarily agreed to leave one of the two apartments he rented. He was still able to stay in the other.

Reszetnik has expressed remorse for killing Hayahara, and apologized to the man’s family in a hearing last month.

“This is going to weigh (on) me for the rest of my life,” he said at the time.

As part of his sentence, Reszetnik was also handed down a lifetime weapons ban and ordered to submit a DNA sample.