The brother of a Chemainus Secondary School 2020 graduate killed in Ontario is charged with his murder.
Jesse James Allen, 38, was taken into custody Jan. 30 and faces first degree murder charges following the death of Wayne Allen, 18, in Manitouwadge, Ont., 330 kilometres east of Thunder Bay.
A spokesperson at the Thunder Bay, Ont. courthouse confirmed charges were brought against Jesse Allen the following day and he had a second court date Feb. 16. The matter was put over to March 8 for his next court date via audio.
News of Allen’s death sent shockwaves across the community, especially with his classmates and other students who knew him during his time in Chemainus.
Allen and his dad came to Chemainus from Ontario during his Grade 10 year to live with his sister Amber Bassett and her family.
Matt Simpson, who’s now attending school and playing baseball at Northland College in Wisconsin, said he was a year ahead of Allen in school, but played on basketball and volleyball teams with him at Chemainus Secondary.
One of Allen’s closest friends, Mark Harris, called Simpson to tell him the news of the death.
“I didn’t know what to feel on that phone call,” said Simpson. “I was in shock.”
“It hit us pretty hard,” added Harris, a fellow 2020 graduate. “One of his friends from Ontario texted me and called me afterwards and told me on the phone.”
Harris and Allen played sports together and got to know each other well through their Grade 10 to 12 years.
“He taught me how to golf,” said Harris. “We golfed like four or five times a week.”
Allen also worked at the Mount Brenton Golf Course during 2020.
“Awesome guy, kind of quiet, trained him for a day and he got it – always on time and punctual,” said Jan Best, the Mount Brenton Golf Course pro.
The move to Ontario after graduation was abrupt.
“He didn’t want to go,” said Best. “He came in here one morning and basically quit.”
It was hoped to put a memorial bench at the golf course for Allen since he spent so much time there, but that’s not happening with COVID.
“They’re going to do a (memorial) tree instead,” said Harris. “And they’re going to pay for it.
“I worked there with Wayne,” he added. “He got me a job there in the summer. It was kind of out of the blue he went back to Ontario maybe the beginning of July.”
Harris and Allen also shared their passion for basketball, although Allen couldn’t play during his Grade 12 year due to a torn ACL the previous year.
Harris has so many fond memories of his friend from high school, including the time he first met him. When someone asked what brought him here, Allen replied “a plane.”
“The second I heard him crack that one joke, I said come over and sit with us,” said Harris.
“Every time he walked through the hallway, it didn’t matter how he was doing, he’d check in with everyone. He was outgoing, even if he didn’t know anyone.”
Harris and other classmates still have a hard time believing what happened. “It doesn’t seem real,” he said.
The circumstances of Allen’s death are not clear.
Allen’s sister has gone back to Ontario while the family deals with the crisis. A GoFundMe page has been set up by Gloria Pichette for Jhosef Bassett, who is home with the kids while Amber expects to be away for quite a while.
“As we all know the pandemic has restricted support and travel and quarantine issues,” noted Pichette on the page.
“Prayers light and love can be given for support. Another great support is financial. If one less worry for their family is all we do, let’s do it together by donating.”