The former Victoria man at the centre of an alleged plan to bomb the B.C. legislature on Canada Day has been involved in past court cases on the Island.
Local artist Jesse Ladret said he knew John Stewart Nuttall years ago when he had been released from prison. On Tuesday, Ladret recalled Nuttall as an occasional musician who played guitar in the short-lived punk band Rat Salad.
Ladret would see him once in a while — Nuttall used to busk on Douglas Street in front of Chapters bookstore — but eventually lost touch with him.
“The last time I saw him, he was at the hospital. I was there because my daughter was being born — and he was in a wheelchair. He told me he had a blood infection from heroin.”
Nuttall lived upstairs from Ladret in Danescourt, an apartment complex at 1176 Yates St. The rooming house was eventually shut down because of safety concerns.
Lawyer Tom Morino, who has represented Nuttall in the past, said he was shocked Monday night when Nuttall, 38, phoned to tell him that he and his common-law wife, Amanda Marie Korody, 30, had been arrested and charged in connection with a terrorism plot to kill or maim people celebrating Canada Day at the legislature in Victoria.
“I was stunned at the seriousness of the charges,” said Morino. “John has always presented to me as a pleasant and compassionate person, as has Amanda.”
Two of the three charges carry a maximum sentence of life in prison.
Morino said he has talked to Nuttall about the fact that it would be inappropriate for him to represent both him and his partner. Morino said he plans to go to the Lower Mainland this weekend to discuss that and other matters with Nuttall.
Korody has no criminal record.
Nuttall has a 2010 conviction for possessing a weapon for a dangerous purpose. He has also been convicted of assaults, mischief and breaches.
Nuttall made the news in 2003 when he received an 18-month conditional sentence for robbery, after hitting a businessman on the head with a rock and running off with the man’s briefcase.
At the time, Morino told the court that Nuttall’s life of crime centred around his addictions to drugs. After the robbery, he said, Nuttall stopped taking drugs and weaned himself off methadone.
Nuttall also made the news in 1996 when he was sentenced to 18 months for his part in several vicious beatings over a drug debt. Nuttall kicked one victim so severely, he had to have a kidney removed.
Nuttall has a profile on Reverb Nation, a web-posting site for musicians. His songs include In League with Satan and The End of the World.