Charges reduced for Yellowknife father and son charged in connection with 2018 death of taxi driver

Ahmed Mahamud Ali's taxi licence photo courtesy of Shirley McGrath

Charges have been significantly reduced for a Yellowknife father and son duo who were originally charged with second-degree murder in the death of a Yellowknife taxi cab driver in November 2018.

Elias Schiller, 19, is now charged with manslaughter and his father, 49-year-old James Schiller now faces a charge of accessory to aggravated assault.

CKLB learned the charges had been reduced Wednesday following a preliminary hearing for both suspects that began earlier this year and concluded Wednesday.

They are both charged in connection with the death of 73-year-old City Cab driver Ahmed Mahamud Ali.

Preliminary hearings are held to determine if there is enough evidence to send a case to trial. They are subject to publication bans which prevent publication or broadcast of any evidence heard in court. That is done to protect the impartiality of the jury pool.

At the conclusion of the preliminary hearing the defence agreed that there was enough evidence for the men to stand trial.

They will be tried together by a single judge and jury in Supreme Court in Yellowknife.

A trial date has yet to be set.

Ali, an immigrant from Somalia, was found bloodied and unconscious in the back seat of his own taxi outside the emergency ward at Stanton Territorial Hospital.

He was later pronounced dead after being taken inside the hospital.

The elder Schiller is free on bail while his son remains in custody at the North Slave Correctional Complex (NSCC) in Yellowknife.

The lead Crown prosecutor in the case, Jill Andrews, explained to CKLB on Thursday why the charges had been reduced.

“The investigation has been ongoing since the original charges were laid.  The evidence and the theory of the Crown’s case as it has developed supports charges of manslaughter and accessory,” Andrews said.

The case has been followed closely by Yellowknife’s Somalian community as well as cab drivers in the city who have appeared in court and have told CKLB that their jobs can be very dangerous at times.

About 80 drivers held a taxi procession through the downtown for their slain colleague last December.

More of them have also had panic buttons installed in their cabs, which emit a siren when pushed by the driver.

Shirley McGrath, general manager of City Cabs, says they have also initiated a system whereby drivers can connect with their dispatcher through their on-board tablets, alerting the dispatcher of a safety issue without the passenger’s knowledge.

About the Author

John McFadden
John has been in the broadcast journalism industry since the 1980s. He has been a reporter in Yellowknife since 2012 and joined CKLB in January of 2018. John covers the crime and court beat as well as reporting on other areas including politics, business, entertainment and sports. He won seven national community newspaper awards while he was a journalist with Northern News Services Limited (NNSL). John worked in Ontario before coming North including stints as a TV sportscaster in Peterborough and senior news writer for CBC and CTV in downtown Toronto.