The victim of last week’s stabbing at Kamloops Regional Correctional Centre will forever be blind in one eye—but his family said it could have been much worse.
Michel Desmond Fougere, 21, was stabbed twice just below his left eye while in his cell at KRCC on the afternoon of Thursday, Oct. 20.
The Kelowna man successfully underwent brain surgery the following day at Vancouver General Hospital.
His sister, Emily Fougere, said the family didn’t even know Michel had been injured until four hours after the attack occurred.
“We received a phone call at 6:30 that night,” she said. “They phoned my mom, saying they needed next-of-kin. They said he wasn’t in good condition.”
Immediately following the stabbing, police said the victim had suffered injuries that were “not serious.”
The following morning, Emily said, she and her mom were driving from Kelowna to Kamloops to visit Michel when the phone rang again.
This time, it was a brain surgeon in Vancouver, where Michel had been transferred, unbeknownst to the family.
“He said [Michel)was assaulted and in his left eye the attacker had put a pen and a pencil in the same wound,” Emily said.
The doctor told the family there were “three pieces (of pencil) lodged in the back of his brain.”
“They said he was very lucky he didn’t die,” Emily said.
Charged in relation to the stabbing is Michel’s cellmate—24-year-old Mark Lindsay, the son of a former Edmonton police chief and a possible person of interest in the murder of an Alberta woman.
Lindsay was charged on Friday, Oct. 21, with one count of aggravated assault in connection to the KRCC stabbing.
He was already facing charges of aggravated assault, robbery and possession of a dangerous weapon in relation to the alleged stabbing of an undercover RCMP officer in September.
It is believed Lindsay —who, KTW has learned, is a murder suspect— had been the target of an undercover operation prior to the alleged stabbing last month.
This past summer, he served 50 days behind bars for another stabbing. In June, he stabbed his girlfriend, 31-year-old Dana Turner, in the head.
He had originally been charged with attempted murder in that case but pleaded guilty to a reduced charge.
Turner disappeared on Aug. 14—two days after Lindsay was released from prison following his 50-day sentence.
Turner’s body was discovered on Oct. 9 in central Alberta. Police believe she was murdered.
Emily Fougere said her brother has never been in jail before. He is awaiting trial on a number of property-related charges out of Kelowna.
He had his bail revoked a few weeks ago, Emily said, after he missed a court appearance while working in Alberta.
Emily and her mother travelled to Vancouver on the weekend to visit Michel, where he was shackled to a bed at VGH, with two correctional officers standing guard.
“He was really upset,” she said. “When he first saw my mom, he burst into tears.”
According to Emily, Michel said he and his cellmate were playing Scrabble in their cell in the moments leading up to the stabbing.
“He said out of nowhere he attacked him with a pen and a pencil,” she said. “He said he showed no warning signs before. He said (the attacker) was ‘casting black magic’ on him and then he stabbed him.”
Lindsay reportedly suffers from mental-health issues.
Emily said her brother managed to fight off his cellmate’s first attack, but was then struck again. She said Michel was stabbed twice, with both writing utensils hitting the same spot under his left eye.
“After that, he had to hit a buzzer and call for help,” she said. “The guy was trying to murder him. He’s just really lucky it’s only his eye that he lost.”
Michel was frightened behind bars prior to the stabbing, Emily said.
“He was very scared,” she said. “He’s phoned me quite a few times and he’ll just be bawling on the phone. He says, ‘I know what I did was wrong, but I just want to get out of here.’”
Emily said the family was told Michel will remain in VGH until early this week, after which he will be transferred temporarily to North Fraser Pretrial Centre in Port Coquitlam before being returned to KRCC. “We just hope he can get into protective custody or something,” she said. “We’re all so distraught with what happened.”
Doctors have told the Fougeres that Michel is not likely to suffer any permanent brain damage, but he will never regain sight in his left eye.
Lindsay is slated to appear in Kamloops provincial court on Thursday, Oct. 28 on the new aggravated-assault charge.
He is expected to return on the other charges on Oct. 31.
Michel Fougere’s trial is scheduled to begin in Kelowna court on Nov. 8.
Tim Petruk is a Black Press reporter in Kamloops.