It had all the usual signs of many riveting, yet unbelievably tragic, premeditated murder cases.
Two young, gang-linked men, Jesse Henderson and Dennis Baptiste — mysteriously and savagely cut down in the prime of their lives inside a Maryland Street four-plex after being seen at a cocaine-fuelled party at an Exchange District theme hotel.
A fire set in what appeared to be a failed attempt to destroy evidence at the crime scene. A missing TV set. Some, but not tons, of physical evidence to go on.
And then came months and months of waiting for an arrest as Winnipeg police worked all kinds of different angles to try and get to the truth of things.
Such was the visible the backdrop to Kenneth Roulette’s trial, which ended in his conviction on two counts of first-degree murder.
But behind the scenes, one of the more interesting legal battles I’ve seen was playing out.
In June 2013, Roulette sought to have his charges tossed out, alleging a failure by prosecutors to disclose evidence in the case had effectively ruined his chance at defending against the charges.
The unusual move — in which Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Robert Dewar found there was delay caused by the Crown’s slowness to disclose — didn’t work and the trial went ahead a few months later.
The key evidence against Roulette was testimony from two unsavory witnesses, one of whom was (by time of trial) a deceased crack addict and naturally couldn’t be cross-examined beyond what defence lawyer Greg Brodsky was able to do at a preliminary hearing when Russell Glow was still alive and in witness protection.
It came as zero surprise to me that Roulette quickly launched an appeal after being convicted given the quirks in the case.
But this week, he found out he’d lost that fight too. Here’s Court of Appeal Justice Alan MacInnes’s reasons why that’s so.
It remains to be seen if Brodsky will take the case to the Supreme Court in hopes of winning a new trial for Roulette.