Ontario couple who fled to Europe found guilty in murder of business partner

A Toronto couple has been found guilty of murdering a B.C. man in a 2021 Hamilton, Ont. shooting.

After a seven-week trial, a jury found Oliver Karafa and his wife Lucy Li guilty of killing Tyler Pratt three years ago behind an Arvin Avenue shop in Stoney Creek.

The pair were also guilty of attempted murder for shooting Pratt’s girlfriend Jordyn Romano during the episode on Feb. 28, 2021.

Karafa and Li were the subject of a worldwide manhunt in March of 2021 after the shootings.

The pair boarded a plane to eastern Europe about 24 hours after the murder of 39-year-old Pratt. However, they would be arrested months later in Hungary.

The co-accused pleaded not guilty to the charges but did not present united fronts during the trial in Hamilton, with defense lawyers presenting different accounts of what happened.

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Crown attorneys insisted Karafa planned the murders and that his spouse, Li, was complicit when business associate Pratt and his pregnant girlfriend Jordyn Romano were hit by gunfire in a lot not far from Barton Street East and Green Road.

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Prosecutors argued the murder went awry when Romano survived being shot in the heart, forcing the defendants to flee to Europe.

A photo of Jordyn Romano and Tyler Pratt. Jordyn Romano

During the trial, Karafa’s lawyer admitted the then 28-year-old pulled the trigger but insisted it was not premeditated and pleaded for a second-degree murder conviction.

Counsel Peter Zudak argued the events in 2021 were motivated by panic and not planned.

He alleged that Pratt was a drug dealer with ties to organized crime and that failures in a personal protective equipment (PPE) business the two couples were partnered in spurred on the desperate shooting.

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Meanwhile, Li’s attorney contended she was unaware of Karafa’s intentions and missed red flags before the shots were fired.

On the stand, Li testified that she was on the other side of the Stoney Creek warehouse when the shooting took place, and even went as far as to say she was “perhaps the stupidest person in the room” or the world for getting involved.

She justified her flight to Europe with Karafa insisting he convinced her their lives were in danger.

During four days of testimony in mid-April, Romano contested Li’s account and said the defendant was much closer and standing near the Range Rover where the shootings occurred.

Romano said the Sunday evening meeting was connected to a possible business venture growing marijuana and an update on a $470,000 investment she and Pratt put into a European-based PPE business.

Karafa did not testify during the trial.

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