July 24th, 2024

Ex-girlfriend tells of fatal attack as manslaughter trial begins

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on January 24, 2024.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

Cullen Drake Tailfeathers and Chantelle English had only been dating a few weeks in 2021, but they were already getting ready to move into a new apartment together.

The plan was short lived, however, and by May 24, 2021, only two months after they began dating, the couple had broken up and English’s friend, Linden Blair Grier, 33, was lying dead on the floor of her Fort Macleod home.

Tailfeathers is accused of killing Grier during the early morning hours of May 24, and during the first two days of his manslaughter trial in Lethbridge court of justice, English recounted the tragic events and testified that Tailfeathers walked into the house and almost immediately attacked Grier.

“He just started beating the sh-t out of him,” English said.

English had broken up with Tailfeathers only the day before, and during the late hours of the next day they exchanged numerous text messages in which Tailfeathers expressed his love for her but she deliberately taunted and teased him.

“I was being a real bitch to him,” she said. “I wanted to hurt him because I was hurt.”

Earlier in the night English had invited Grier to her home, where she had already consumed a considerable amount of vodka. Grier brought more vodka with him, and the two continued drinking while two of English’s young children watched TV in another room.

In addition to sending texts to Tailfeathers, English also posted a picture to her Snapchat account of herself and a shirtless Grier drinking together. English told court she figured Tailfeathers would see the picture.

“Why is Linden there?” Tailfeathers asked in one of the many texts he sent English. “He’s not even wearing a shirt.”

At one point it appeared Tailfeathers didn’t know who the other man was, and he repeatedly asked English to tell him. When she didn’t reply, he became angry.

“Answer me or I swear to God. I don’t want to go off my rocker and hurt someone.”

English eventually stopped responding to Tailfeather’s texts, but later in the night he showed up at the apartment and walked through the front door. He threw at her the keys to what was going to be their new home together, and demanded to know who else was with her.

“He was yelling, he was angry,” English said.

She said Tailfeathers pushed her out of the way and rushed downstairs where, at the bottom of the stairs, he charged Grier and began striking him.

“He was punching him in the head multiple times, and I was yelling and screaming, trying to tell him to stop.”

The attack ended in the nearby bathroom after Tailfeathers punched the smaller man again and he fell to the floor, where English cradled his head in her lap.

“It happened really quickly. I just remember screaming and…Linden was bleeding everywhere.”

The blood, English pointed out, was coming from Linden’s head.

“Linden was laying down on the floor of the bathroom and his lips were turning blue.”

English told Tailfeathers she was calling the police, and he fled.

During the call to 911, a hysterical English is heard yelling, “please help me,” and “please make him wake up.”

With help from the 911 operator, English provided CPR until emergency medical personnel arrived, but attempts to save Grier were unsuccessful. Tailfeathers, who English described as six-feet six inches tall and 300 pounds, was arrested three days later, and he pleaded not guilty the following August to charges of manslaughter and break and enter.

During cross-examination, Calgary lawyer Jim Lutz noted portions of English’s testimony were inconsistent with her statements to police, such as whether her front door was locked or unlocked when Tailfeathers arrived at her home. She attributed the contradictions to her highly intoxicated state at the time, and said her memory became better as time passed and she thought about everything that had happened.

“I had a lot more time to reflect in a sober manner,” she said.

Earlier in her testimony English commented on photographs taken inside her house by investigators, which showed marks on the bathroom wall and the lid off the toilet tank. She said she didn’t believe the lid was off the tank or the marks were on the wall before the incident, but she didn’t know how either of those things happened.

Lutz, during his subsequent cross-examination, suggested she and Grier had earlier in the night been arguing, yelling, fighting, banging things against the wall and throwing things. He also suggested Grier wanted to leave but English told him not to, and that they had a second argument in which they were throwing things in the basement and hitting each other.

English denied the accusations and simply said, “they didn’t happen.”

During redirect by the Crown, English said she thought at the time of the incident that Tailfeathers may have had a knife and stabbed Grier, but she doesn’t know why she thought that. She told court she saw a lot of blood, but never actually saw a knife, and she believes she was just having flashbacks of things that happened to her brother and sister.

The trial continues to today, and is scheduled to conclude by the end of the week.

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