Mapping break-ins prompts bigger questions

ImageIt’s a curious, curious tale, I figure.

A young (apparently) eastern European man with no criminal record or history of trouble with the law is spotted as a suspicious person inside an Elmwood apartment block, where witnesses say they noticed the “unassuming” stranger had a backpack and pick-like objects on him.

And then, boom: he’s charged (and presumed innocent) with 35 break and enter-related counts in connection with police reports which had been piling up in the back offices of the East and West Districts for a year.

What makes this case curious is the apparent level of sophistication.

If what’s been alleged proves true, the burglaries involved the use of lock picks and a special “high frequency” listening device, ostensibly to assist in picking said locks.

In other words, these were no basic smash and grabs.

I’ve mapped out the numerous break-and-enter events and their timing, which all occurred at apartments.

Results of that effort are below.

Now, I had limited data to work with, just the dates of the alleged offences and the block addresses at which they happened, and in most cases a gender of the person who lived there.

But even this small amount of data, when laid out on a map, raises certain questions.

At the top of the inquiry pile is: Were these B&E’s targeted events? Was the culprit somehow led to these specific addresses after being tipped off that something of value could be found there?

Initially, between March 2013 and the end of April, the target sites were apartments in Transcona and North Kildonan.

But then, to kick off May, there was an event on Clayton Drive – many, many kilometres away from the usual area of interest.

By June, it becomes a hodgepodge of locations, stretching into south Pembina Highway. It’s weird.

Then comes a month-long recess in activity that concludes with an event on St. Anne’s Road – but resumes back in Transcona, at a block which had already been hit several times before.

Then, consider the four-month gap in events between 22 October, 2013 and mid-February back in Transcona. What went on in this period? Note, also that the Oct 22, 2013 event took place at the exact apartment where the suspect was collared this past week.

You can read about that encounter here.

Now, it could be that there were other events in the intervening months which simply weren’t reported to police. That’s entirely possible.

But what we’re left with given the charges and the timing of the allegations is the possibility this was just the tip of the iceberg.

I wonder, as would anyone, about the contents of the suspect’s backpack, and what was discussed — if anything — in his police interview after his arrest.

I also wonder about the story of a note being left behind at the Oct. 22 event on Poplar Avenue — one stating the thefts were as a result of a lack of legitimate employment in Canada for immigrants, and that a group of people was behind that break-in.

As I said: It’s a curious case.

Update: Sorry, it appears WordPress won’t allow the custom Google map to be embedded here. It can be found here.

Chad Davis murder trial: The evidence of Week 4

[Reblogged from the Winnipeg Free Press ‘Crime Scene’ blog on Feb. 17, 2014. One word was changed, and a sentence about the police statement added in the intro]

Two men on trial for a brutal crime: The alleged premeditated murder of a handsome young Winnipeg man, Chad Davis, who went missing for months and was found July 23, 2008 in a barrel pulled from the Lee River.

Corey Tymchyshyn, 37, and Kristopher Brincheski, 31, are accused and presumed innocent.

This is a comprehensive recap of the fourth week of evidence heard in this complex, unusual and largely circumstantial case.

First week recap can be found here. Second week here.Third week here.

Allegations made in the Crown’s opening argument can be found here [required reading, really].

Stories from the week are here and here if you don’t want the full blow by blow.

Although long, a close reading of Alex Brincheski’s statement is key to understanding his testimony.

This was the final week of the Crown’s evidence, prosecutors have now closed their case and jurors are due back Tuesday [Feb. 18] to see what’s next for them.

Day 15

Alex Brincheski, affirms to tell the truth

Direct testimony, Crown Eyrikson examining

  • 25-years old, brother is Kristopher Brincheski.
  • The last he and Crown spoke was at the preliminary hearing in 2010
  • Not under the influence of intoxicants today.
  • Made a statement to police in 2008, and participated in the prelim in 2010
  • He got transcripts of the preliminary hearing from Gerri Wiebe, Kris’ lawyer.
  • He more looked over his police statement, just read “a little bit” of the prelim transcripts.
  • “I was just more focused on my original statement.”
  • His Sept. 5, 2008 statement to police: reviewed it on “friday night.”
  • No, no threats made to him regarding his in-court testimony.
  • Has lived in Lac du Bonnet, grew up there with Kris.
  • Kris moved out at age 18, “I’m pretty sure.”
  • Kris is not living in LDB now, he’s married to DS.
  • Alex, at age 18-19, came to live with Kris in Winnipeg at 52 Beeston Dr.
  • He worked with Kris at “Brincore” roofing company.
  • “It was just me, Kevin [Marchand] Kris and Corey.”
  • He worked replacing shingles, his brother taught him the ropes.
  • “Most of the time, I was just usually helping my brother.”
  • The only nickname for his brother he knew of: “Burn.”
  • “Skinner” was Tymchyshyn’s nickname.
  • At that time, a young woman named B.B. was his girlfriend.
  • DS had a son that wasn’t Kris’, believed him to be around 7-8 years old at that time.
  • No, wasn’t aware of DS and Tymchyshyn ever having an affair.
  • No, never saw those two texting back and forth that he’s aware of.
  • Did not know a person named Chad Davis.
  • On Sept. 4, 2008 was living at Beeston Dr.
  • Yes, something happened that saw them displaced from the residence.
  • He and Kris were working at a roofing job when Kris got a call from DS, saying that “there was police coming to the home for a search.”
  • He witnessed this call. “He was told the cops were coming to the house to search.”
  • This was around noon or 1 p.m.
  • He and Kris went home to Beeston, might have been a 20-30 minute drive.
  • “It was kind of just like out of nowhere” that they were going home.
  • “He said that police were coming to search the home, he didn’t say exactly why.”
  • “We got there and he started moving stuff around.”
  • Yes, it did seem hurried, leaving the job site they were at.
  • “He just seemed that he was really panicked.”
  • Kris was grabbing “miscellaneous items” and putting them in his truck.
  • “He said that the had to get rid of Chad’s stuff out of the house … cops were coming to search the house.”
  • “I was just kind of in shock.”
  • A surround-sound system and a TV was what was grabbed, loaded into the box of his truck.
  • He’s “pretty sure” Kris didn’t say where Chad’s stuff came from.
  • He didn’t help move the items, seemed “wrong.”
  • “I didn’t want to help him move somebody’s stuff that was stolen — become an accomplice.”
  • At that point, he knew Chad Davis wasn’t alive, and “not very good” was how he felt about that.
  • There was a big-screen TV in their basement.
  • “I remember him saying that he bought it but I don’t know exactly where it came from.”
  • He ID’s photos of items RCMP took at Beeston.
  • They left Beeston and stopped at a 7-11 store to use a pay phone and get a drink.
  • He arranged to go to Assiniboine Park where DS and BB were.
  • Yes, is fair to say Kris seemed “scared,” “frightened” and “frantic.”
  • “I really didn’t know what to think at the time.”
  • Kris dropped him off at the park, took about 45 mins to an hour to get there.
  • He didn’t ask where Kris was going.
  • “I was more or less just wanting to see my girlfriend.”
  • DS was having cheerleader practice, BB was watching.
  • He felt “a little bit freaked out.”
  • “I probably did” talk to BB about the incident.
  • They were allowed to go back to Beeston to get a couple of things.
  • He’s unsure today if he and DS discussed what was going on. “We must have discussed it but I can’t remember that far back.”
  • The drive back to Beeston — with DS, BB and a friend of DS’s — was anywhere from 30-60 minutes.
  • He’s unsure if the fact Kris had a dead person’s stuff was part of the conversation.
  • “It may have. But I can’t remember anything we talked about in that car.”
  • The get there, the place is taped off and police cruisers were there.
  • He doesn’t remember phoning Kris when he got there. DS or BB “may have” called him, is unsure.
  • They were allowed in to get a few things, like a toothbrush and change of clothes, not to “clean out the closets.”
  • “It was kind of obvious they were doing a search,” and Kris had said they were coming to search the house.
  • Yes, the only time he actually knew the cops were at the house was when he saw them there.
  • The RCMP, for “the most part” treated him with respect.
  • They were there for 10-15 minutes, and watched by officers as they gathered things.
  • The went to BB’s uncle’s apartment to stay (He and BB) — can’t remember the street name it was on, but says it took about 20-30 mins to get there, was on the other side of the Chief Peguis trial bridge.
  • They went there because they needed a place to stay.
  • DS was the one who dropped them off.
  • She “was as normal as she could be — she seemed a little worried about Kris at the time.”
  • Said the main doors of the apartment they went to didn’t lock.
  • Can’t remember if BB’s uncle’s family was informed that Beeston was being searched.
  • Yes, he was curious about what Kris may have been involved in.
  • He and BB looked stuff up on the internet. “I was a little bit stressed out.”
  • Can’t remember exactly what he and Kris talked about with respect to Davis being missing — can’t remember.
  • Can’t recall having contact with Kris that night. No, didn’t try calling him.
  • The next morning (this is now Sept. 5) he either texted or called him.
  • BB had had his cellphone the day before, that’s why the 7-11 pay phone was used.
  • Kris knew Alex didn’t have any money, so Kris drove to the apartment to give him some money.
  • He drove a Ford F-150 truck.
  • Kris said he was “sorry about the house being taped off.”
  • “Just that he was sorry that he dropped this on me.”
  • To Alex, that meant: “Stuck in the middle of it,” that Kris meant it was his “fault you can’t go home.”
  • Yes, anybody would have been curious about these circumstances, but can’t remember asking Kris any questions.
  • “He seemed like he was in a hurry and I had to go drive my girlfriend to work.”
  • Kris said “he stayed at a hotel.”
  • BB worked in the downtown, at the Sears building, doing “phone ordering.”
  • He then went back to the apartment and called CS, a friend. “I didn’t want to sit in the apartment the entire day.”
  • May have called his parents, isn’t sure.
  • He had BB’s car for the day, and met with CS at his apartment between 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • They drove around and went to buy weed, maybe an 8th or a 1/4 oz. They smoked some of it in the car.
  • “We had a water bong in the car.”
  • “I’m pretty sure we ended up smoking the whole bag” [that day].
  • Believes he gave some to Kris, met up with him at the hotel he was at, possibly the Cavalier.
  • Kris walked over to the car, they gave him 1-2 grams. This was somewhere around 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
  • They didn’t discuss the incident at Beeston Drive because CS was there.
  • Can’t remember telling police or the preliminary hearing about the Cavalier meet-up.
  • It may have been in the preliminary hearing he said this, can’t be sure.
  • They were there for 10-20 minutes, then drove around.
  • “I wasn’t really that high at that point,” had only smoked about 1/2 joint before meeting Kris.
  • “Wasn’t completely stoned.”
  • Yes, was a seasoned pot smoker then. He’d smoked it daily at the job sites they worked, before we started around 6-7 a.m.
  • They’d work long days, over the course of the day, he’d smoke 2-4 joints.
  • “Three to four, maybe.”
  • He didn’t use power tools at the sites. Mostly, he moved shingles, cleaned up, stripped them off roofs.
  • Yes, required balance to move shingles up ladders.
  • After the Cavalier, he and CS drove around, smoking weed, sharing it equally.
  • No, he wasn’t concerned about driving, was aware of what’s happening around him. He was driving.
  • No, they didn’t run any lights and had no accidents.
  • They went back to apartment, where BB’s uncle’s partner was “weirded out” by CS being there.
  • They went out to sit in the car to continue to smoke up, were there for about two hours.
  • “I was pretty stoned at that point.”
  • They were more or less cautions about being caught smoking up in the car.
  • He then drove CS back to his downtown apartment, no runned lights, no accidents.
  • This took about an hour, to his knowledge not smoking any more pot.
  • Can’t remember the street CS lived on, maybe Broadway. They went up to his place.
  • He didn’t discuss the previous day’s events with CS, despite that he was one of his “better friends.”
  • They were in the apartment for about an hour, no more drugs, no alcohol was consumed.
  • He then drove from there to get BB, 10-20 mins away in the downtown.
  • He didn’t smoke on the way — but is “getting tired, still kind of feeling the effects.”
  • The bong is on the back seat floor No he didn’t want people to see it.
  • He often left the bong in the car — “I don’t think [BB] enjoyed it being there, but I don’t think she minded it being there.”
  • She got a call from a step-realtive and they went to McDonalds to meet up and get a bite to eat.
  • Yes, this was the first time he’d disclosed they’d gone to McD’s.
  • He had a burger and fries. It took about 45 minutes — it’s now about 4 or 5 p.m.
  • He and BB went back to the apartment, but doors locked and they had no keys, so they sat outside on the front steps, then walked to the car.
  • Two officers pulled up. He felt “burnt out” from the weed and really tired at this point.
  • He was feeling some paranoia, but could still tell right from wrong.
  • The cops were in suits, in unmarked vehicle. No lights or sirens.
  • They ID themselves, were “for the most part” polite.
  • They didn’t cuff him. Asked he and BB to come for a talk.
  • No, not under arrest, not charged with anything.
  • They drove at “normal speed” back to D-Division HQ on Portage.
  • The conversation in the car was “pretty light.”
  • He didn’t find them intimidating, particularly.
  • He believe cops wanted to talk with him because “of our house being taped off — it was because of the search” and Kris’s possible involvement.
  • They went in the front door of D-Division, into the lobby area and sat down with BB.
  • “Tying to both figure out why we were there.”
  • Was pretty sure it was because of the house being taped off.
  • Can’t recall giving BB instructions on what to say to RCMP. “It’s possible.”
  • In front of an interview room, RCMP officer took his particulars.
  • Yes, there was time when he was with Kris on a roof, on Ashmore St.
  • They were alone.
  • Yes there were times he was in a vehicle with Tymchyshyn and Kris.
  • Yes, there was a time when the truck were in pulled over and Tymchyshyn and Kris got out to talk. He stayed in.
  • “It seemed a little bit odd.” — “Seemed weird,” had never seen them do that before.
  • He was with Kevin and watched Tymchyshyn and Kris talk away from the vehicle. Was a 5-10 minute conversation.
  • Yes, at the prelim he testified and told the truth

Jury excused briefly. 

  • Yes, “I felt like I was” being honest with the police on Sept. 5 — “being as honest as I could.”
  • No, didn’t tell the total truth to the police that day, same thing he said in his “recant.”
  • On Sept. 23, 2008, sent a 1-page document to Wiebe’s office (Brincheski’s lawyer) to “Recant.”
  • The main issue “Just the fact that I said my brother was there.”

Jury excused briefly. 

  • The conversation of Ashmore: was just the two of them (he and Kris) there.
  • The conversation: “Just that he told me what he figured happened to him … what he knew.”
  • “He just told me.”
  • “That that guy had gone to Corey’s and that was the last place he had seen.”
  • Kris had told him about spending the night in “the cop shop,” where he was questioned “about Chad,” “His disappearance.”
  • His assumption is Kris was in Winnipeg police custody.
  • “He didn’t really say anything that involved him directly.”
  • “He never said anything to me that directly involved him.”
  • “The only thing that I know of is that his stuff was at his house.”
  • “He never said he was there. I’ve been in that garage before too.”
  • Kris had said “somebody had snuck up on him when he entered the garage.”
  • “He knew — somebody else had told him.”
  • “He told me what he thought he knew … what he figured he knew.”
  • Didn’t remember Kris saying anything to him about a barrel. “Not that I remember.”
  • “No,” Kris never said anything about weights being put in a barrel.
  • More on what Kris said: “Just that Chad went into the garage and there was someone waiting in there for him.”
  • Kris didn’t say how he knew this information.
  • “I really didn’t want to be involved in it.”
  • Kris said “that he was beaten to death.”
  • “I have no idea” how he knew that.
  • Kris came into Chad’s stuff: “apparently him and Corey split it up at some point.”
  • No, Kris never talked about “luring” Davis to 703 Prince Rupert Ave.
  • “Yeah,” he loves his brother.

Morning break, court resumes

[To spell things out more clearly, am now moving to a mixed Q and A format of exchange between Alex Brincheski and Crown Keith Eyrikson. Note: the answers, not the questions, are the evidence.]

  • No, didn’t discuss his evidence with anyone over the lunch break.

On the rooftop on Ashmore: Did your brother tell you where the homicide of Chad Davis occurred?

  • “Yes he did.”

Where?

  • “Corey’s garage.”

Was he present when it happened? 

  • “I don’t know.” He didn’t ask if Kris was present.

Are you sure of that, sir?

  • “Yes.”

Positive? 

  • “Yes.”
  • No, seeing his police statement to refresh his memory won’t help in that regard.

Not a thing?

  • “Nope.”

It won’t help you at all? 

  • “No.”

And the reason is because you read it already?

  • “Yes.”

Kris didn’t tell you the number of people present in Corey’s garage?

  • “No.”

Did he tell you if he was one of the persons present?

  • “No.”

Or tell you he was forced to participate in the homicide of Chad Davis?

  • “No he didn’t.”

[Paraphrased question] Did he mention a storage locker?

  • “No.”
  • Yes, he did tell RCMP that Kris was present, he concedes.
  • “At that time I thought he actually was there.”
  • A week or two after telling them this, he changed his mind about this.
  • “I don’t remember him telling me he was there … it was nearing the end of my statement and I wanted to leave.”
  • Yes, he went into the RCMP room where BB was and talked to her. “They let me go in there.”

Did you tell her to tell the police the truth? 

  • “Yup … I told her to tell them what they wanted to hear — not drag it out.”

[Jurors hear Eyrikson tell Justice Keyser the Crown is making an application to her under section 9(2) of the Canada Evidence Act.]

Jurors excused briefly, and then they return.

Alex Brincheski, ctd:

  • The only thing he lied to police about on Sept. 5, 2008 was saying that Kris was there. It was to get out of RCMP custody.
  • Everything else in his statement was “completely the truth.”
  • And yes, told police Davis was killed in the garage.
  • “According to what (Kris) told me.”
  • Kris told him the murder happened at Corey’s house in the garage, and was telling the police the truth.

He didn’t tell you anything about a barrel? 

  • “No.”

[Eyrikson challenges him with portions of his police statement]

He told you he was there … what else did Kris tell you? What did they do with him?

  • “Put him in a barrel.”
  • Yes, he could have told police he’d heard about this some other place.
  • “I was trying to do my best to help them [the police].”
  • “I really wanted to leave at that point … I was trying to be as honest as I could.”
  • Knew that he’d be kept there longer if he didn’t tell them something.
  • “After, I realized I wasn’t being truthful about me saying that he was there.”
  • He had no idea there were weights put in the barrel. He just made this up.

How many people did you tell police were there?

  • “I remember just two.”

Police statement: Const. Bairos asks, “who was all there when he was killed?”
A: “As far as I know, it was just him and …

  • “That’s what I assumed.”
  • Yes, he left police with the impression this is what Kris told him directly.

So, you didn’t tell police the truth and instead implicated your brother in a homicide?

  • “Yup.”

[He’s challenged more on things he told police and the court at the preliminary hearing.]

  • “I never asked him how he knew.”
  • Only “yes and no” wanted to know if Kris was actually involved in the killing.
  • “I was worried he was involved in it.”
  • Yes, he did tell police how Davis died, and that information came from Kris.
  • Yes, he was telling police the truth.
  • “He never specified if he saw it happening or knew from somebody else.”
  • He doesn’t know how his brother knew this information.
  • It would surprise him, yes, that Kris wasn’t interviewed by RCMP prior to them approaching him.
  • “I just wanted to get it over and done with and leave.”
  • No, the police never threatened him to say anything.
  • “I know, I swear I’m not lying to you now,” he told RCMP on Sept. 5, 2008.
  • Yes, he was telling the police the truth.
  • Yes, he does want to be in court to testify.

“This is what I know. I’m not just guessing giving you false … make shit up just to give you,” he told police.  “From the most of my knowledge, this is what I know,” he said.

  • He told RCMP “they took him into the garage” to get out of the police station.

[More challenges on the contents of his police statement.]

Don’t you think it would have been more helpful to say, ‘you know what — I don’t know where he got this stuff from?

  • He agrees he never mentioned in his interview that he wasn’t certain where Kris got his information from.

[More challenges.]

  • Says his understanding was what he was telling police was to remain between him and the officers.
  • Acknowledges that he knew they were videotaping his statement.

Eyrikson, directly: Your brother admitted this homicide to you.

  • “No.”

You didn’t have any idea … your brother could be arrested for this homicide?

  • Said he called RCMP after Kris’s arrest to complain about police conduct.

Eyrikson, directly: You didn’t know what to do but tell the police the truth that day. 

  • “Yeah.”
  • He and BB returned to the apartment afterwards, yes, RCMP were kind to them.
  • Yes, it was a great weight off his shoulders because his brother had confessed a homicide to him and he’d gotten that information out. “Yes.”
  • He hoped the letter to the lawyer on Sept. 23, 2008 to recant his police statement would be shared with the police and the Crown.
  • He wanted the whole thing gone and his statement quashed.
  • Agrees that in that letter he never says: “I lied.”
  • It was “not the total truth” what he told police.
  • Yes he could have said that Kris got the information he shared from different sources.

Court recesses for the day and subsequent day. 

Day 16 — Alex Brincheski, ctd.

[Jurors are shown the video statement Alex Brincheski gave to police on Sept. 5, 2008]

After it’s shown, Keyser warns the jury they’re only to use it in their deliberation of the case against Brincheski, not Tymchyshyn.

Cross-examination by Gerri Wiebe, for Brincheski:

  • Yes, was 19 at the time came to live on Beeston Drive, Kris was 26. Kris had moved out of the Lac du Bonnet family home when he was 17-18 years old.
  • Up until coming to live with Kris on Beeston, hadn’t lived with him for 8-9 years.
  • He was living in Lac du Bonnet on July 23, 2008 when Davis was found.
  • He then lived with parents and his girlfriend, BB.
  • BB and the parents had a falling out, so he upped and moved with her in a “relative hurry.”
  • They moved in with Kris, DS and her son on Beeston.
  • Yes, it would surprise him to hear that DS’s son was 2-3 years old and not 7-8 as he thought.
  • Kris and DS had been together for about a year, and yes they’d had some troubles. But they seemed like a regular couple.
  • Yes, their relationship [DS and Kris] was “complicated.”
  • No, he’d known nothing about roofing, he’d been a butcher at a Lac du Bonnet store.
  • Kris showed him the roofing ropes, he was his helper, he’d always work with him.
  • ‘Brincor’ was Kris and Corey’s company.
  • Had seen Kris use cocaine once right in front of him, got impression he was using more than he saw.
  • Kris had spent time at Addictions Foundation of Manitoba rehab.
  • Seeing him use cocaine was concerning to him.
  • Alex himself was smoking pot pretty much each day back then.
  • He and others at work would have “safety meetings” where they’d smoke joints in the car couple times a day.
  • The weed would only somewhat affect his ability to work on roofs.
  • Yes, he smoked up the night before testifying at the preliminary inquiry.
  • Marijuana does not make him slur words, stumble around. The more he uses it the easier it is for him to hide the effects it has on him.
  • Yes, weed impairs his ability to make proper decisions, control impulses and what he hears and says.
  • Lac du Bonnet in Summer: its population grows, it’s a “small town.”
  • The body found in the barrel was a big deal, yes.
  • Rumours swirling about who it was, when it happened and how.
  • Before giving statement, he went on the Internet to search out information about the investigation.

[He’s asked about news articles, one from July 24, 2008 where it says two men opened a large plastic barrel with holes in it]

  • He was aware of this information. Was aware of the men saying they’d been hit by a stench, that industrial plastic was inside, that RCMP went to the location where body was found. It also caused a stir in Lac du Bonnet because several officers in the “musical ride” were called away to the scene.
  • He wasn’t aware of an article saying Davis was last seen on Feb. 6, but was aware of a report saying Davis had stepped out to give a friend a ride, was last seen in the 700 block of Prince Rupert Ave.
  • Was aware of an article quoting Courtney Sych that Davis’s disappearance didn’t add up and no taxi was ever dispatched to the home.
  • It was Kris saying he’d been at the “cop shop” that made him ask him what was going on.
  • Kris had said the questioning was about the disappearance of Chad Davis.
  • To him, this meant Kris was under police suspicion, so he asked what’s going on.
  • And this conversation happened on the roof on Ashmore.
  • Yes, he’s “really confused” about what he told RCMP in his statement.
  • Yes, he wanted to help them, and told them the truth, but also lied to them.
  • He wasn’t happy to be in a police station.
  • Past dealings with police had limited his trust in them.
  • He didn’t feel like he had the right to say no to them.
  • He thought that Kris might be involved and didn’t want to talk with them.
  • He had no way of getting home if he just decided to leave the police station.
  • He thought he’d be in trouble for not coming forward with the information he thought he had.
  • Thought police may be trying to trick him into confessing something.

“What I’m trying to do here is figure out what you mean when you say you were telling the truth but that you were lying,” Wiebe tells him.

  • He believed that Kris was telling the truth when he said what he said on the roof.
  • At the time of that disclosure, he knew that the body was found in the river, that Tymchsyhyn had been spoken to and it all made sense.
  • On Sept. 5, 2008, sats he actually believed Kris was involved because of the “cop shop” comment.

[Wiebe suggests to him that Kris never spent the night in police custody, was in fact trying to cover up an affair.]

  • At that time, he believed Kris was involved and it was weighing him down.
  • Yes, he was conflicted because Kris was his brother, but he was also angry for the situation he’d been put in.

What you thought you knew about what happened was all intertwined in your brain, Wiebe says.

  • “I agree,” he replies.
  • Says he doesn’t have the best memory, it’s “pretty average,” that on the best of days isn’t so good.

[Wiebe takes him through his recollection of what he says he did on Sept. 5 before the interview, points out that several things differ from what he said at the preliminary inquiry, including: he previously said he picked Kris up and they went to buy weed together, that the hotel was the Silverado then, and that he’d said CS was driving whereas in direct he said he was. Also, at the prelim he never mentioned going back to CS’s apartment before getting BB from work and that he’s smoked 8 or more joints that day.]

  • He has a pretty hard time remembering things, especially when he’s smoking weed, which is what he was doing on the day of the roof conversation with Kris. He couldn’t tell police exactly when or where this conversation took place.
  • No, doesn’t remember the exact words Kris used in the conversation.
  • Yes, it’s fair to say that what he heard was “all mixed up” with things he’d read on the internet and town gossip.
  • The information he had about the investigation came from a number of different ways.
  • He made assumptions when he was asked what was used to weigh down the barrel [he’d told police “Maybe rocks or something, I don’t know.”]

Wiebe takes him through several passages in his statement, including how he said on Page 15, “I wish I knew, I really don’t know how he was killed.” and, later, “I don’t know” when he’s asked how Davis “got his life taken from him.”

  • He didn’t know that the victim was beaten to death, he tells court.

Wiebe continues to point out vagueness in some of his police statement answers.

  • After giving his statement, Kris was arrested within a couple of days, he tried to find phoning police to complain that what he’d told them he thought wasn’t to be shared.
  • When that didn’t work out, he sent a “recant” fax to Wiebe’s office. He was still angry at the police and blaming them for what happened.
  • He didn’t want police to think he’d lied to them, and yes he got “a little carried away” trying to help them.
  • When blaming the police didn’t work, he retained his own lawyer in October 2008.
  • He had to get a copy of his statement because he couldn’t remember what he’d said.
  • He was allowed to go to the Crown’s office in January 2009 to watch it.
  • He then, with lawyer Kathy Bueti, drew up a 5-page affidavit sworn Jan. 29, 2009 trying to explain what happened.

Wiebe reads it into the record. There are 30 points, including that what he told RCMP was not an “accurate recollection” of events, and that Kris did not say that he was there at the homicide. He also says he felt “paranoid,” emotional and “pressured” into saying things so he could leave police custody. He was “coaxed and led” by police to the point he felt he was telling them what they wanted to hear.

  • He was just trying to do what he could to make things right.
  • Tymchyshyn never spoke to him, ever, about the case.
  • It’s “correct” that Tymchyshyn never told him anything.

Day 17

Agreed statement of facts:

  • During the initial search of 703 Prince Rupert Ave, heat lamps and small marijuana plants were found under some stairs, in a crawlspace.
  • During a search of the garage, tools, including a hammer were found.
  • “The hammer was not seized by officers.”

Cpl. Christian (Chris) Rouire, RCMP, sworn

  • 13 years with the RCMP.
  • 8 Years as Major Crime Unit investigator.
  • He was “primary” investigator on Davis file, and team commander.
  • “This is a large investigation.”
  • About 70 police officers involved, more than 400 separate tasks.
  • Disclosure alone ran from 13,000-15,000 pages.
  • “At least” 150 witnesses interviewed.
  • No, not every witness called at trial and not all information gathered was presented.
  • The RCMP took over WPS missing persons investigation because of jurisdiction [Lac du Bonnet] when Davis was found.
  • RCMP met with Winnipeg police, they turned over their missing persons file, “we verified a lot of their information.”
  • A homicide probe is different than a missing persons one.
  • Not every piece of evidence gathered immediately holds significance.
  • “We don’t know what they may mean but we don’t know the importance down the road.”
  • Yes, on Sept. 4, 2008 Beeston Drive was searched by RCMP, Sept. 5 Alex Brincheski was interviewed.
  • On Sept. 4, they had DS in RCMP station, she wasn’t arrested and she gave an interview.
  • Afterwards, she was in the lobby “using a phone,” indicated she was talking to Kris.
  • He was told RCMP was coming to secure the home. That was a concern.
  • “She may be telling him to get rid of stuff.”
  • They didn’t know where Kris was at this point.
  • Kris Brincheski was never interviewed or spoken to by RCMP prior to Sept. 5.
  • A civilian employee’s check of the RCMP records showed he was never interviewed in 2008 prior to Sept. 5.

[Eyrikson takes him through specific bits of the investigation, it switches gears a bit from here].

  • He was the one who checked the numbers for the Super 8 motel on Portage.
  • The 810-20** number the “don’t miss” text was sent to was a prefix in Manitoba that was “not in service.”
  • That prefix in Manitoba did not exist.
  • On Feb. 6, 2013, he drove the distance from 703 Prince Rupert Ave. to the “Pinawa Channel Bridge” near Lac du Bonnet.
  • Left from the back lane at 9:35 a.m., through the city to Highway 59, east onto PR 317, left on PR 11, right on PR 313.
  • It took 1 hour and 13 mins to get there, a distance of 116.6 k.m.
  • He drove the speed limit, largely.
  • “I’m 99 per cent sure it was clear, sunny day that day.”

Holdback information:

  • This is information “we don’t disclose.” “Don’t release to the public.” “We don’t tell to Chad Davis’s family.”
  • The holdback evidence is used to verify the truthfulness of their witnesses.
  • On Sept 5, 2008, holdback evidence included: Cause of death, that objects used to weight barrel down, that a hat was found in the barrel, the description of clothing items.
  • The interview with Alex Brincheski on Sept. 5 was the first they’d heard of garage as possible crime scene.
  • “That’s the first time we heard of it. We never heard anything about it before that.
  • Yes, Prince Rupert Avenue was known to the public as the last place Davis was seen [700 Block].
  • “We didn’t know where it happened until that day.”
  • DNA results would also be holdback, not disclosed.
  • Same goes for the “coiled plastics” such as found in the barrel and cleaning kit.
  • He read four news articles from July 24, 2008, 25th, 27th and Aug. 3, 2008 for court.
  • Cause of death is not mentioned in any of these articles.
  • Nor are metal weights.
  • Nor is the garage on Prince Rupert. “Never seen the word garage.”

George Lancaster

  • Rouire says he was never shown results of text messages
  • They did talk about phone records, because there were some calls that Lancaster was asked to verify were his. The pages of the records were held by Rouire and shown to him. Lancaster never even held the pages.
  • The text messages were not on the records shown to him.
  • No, the hammer was not seized from the garage on Prince Rupert.
  • “I wish we would have (seized it). At the time, we knew the cause of death was blunt force trauma … could have been anything in the garage … just like the black plastic coils (Winnipeg Police saw when searching Davis’s Jeep months earlier), I wish it had been seized.”
  • He knows Cpl. Forester would have seized it if it was deemed an object of interest. “If there was blood on that hammer, it would have been seized.”
  • MTS phone records were sought for Brincheski, but the company only keeps them for 90 days.
  • Brincheski’s name was first ever uttered in connection with the investigation on Aug. 14, 2008.

The taking of Alex Brincheski’s statement

  • He went up to Alex in the lobby of D Division, was only a few feet away from him.
  • Was with him in an interview room for a time.
  • In 13 years as a cop, he’s become familiar with people who are high on marijuana, the indicia of intoxication.
  • Yes, he “absolutely” looks for such signs when interviewing someone.
  • “Not at all” was there a smell emanating from Alex.
  • “Nothing at all” in terms of indicia he was intoxicated.

The plastic sheeting

  • He went online to see if he could locate the “specific plastic” Davis was found wrapped in.
  • Learned that material was available for purchase in bulk in multiple lengths and widths.
  • “Black on one side, white on the other.”
  • He knows its sometimes called “Malomar,” sometimes “poly,”
  • “I call it black and white plastic.”
  • He went to a hydroponics store and found “like plastic.” Store clerk said he could order it in different thicknesses, but only the 6-mm thickness was available.

Exhibits in the case

  • “Hundreds and hundreds” of exhibits were seized in the investigation.
  • He went online to price out the value of a Breitling watch that was seized. It was worth between $6-7,000 online.
  • Davis’s Jeep was unavailable to use for the barrel experiment because it had been written off by then.
  • Stuart Davis had sold it and the new owner had written it off.
  • The actual barrel remains a “biohazard” and could not be brought to court.
  • The barrel “absolutely” would fit in Davis’s Jeep.
  • Phone records weren’t obtained by RCMP until early October 2008.
  • He wasn’t aware that Cpl. Forester didn’t measure the inside of Davis’s Jeep’s hatch. The fact there are wheel-well humps doesn’t change his view the barrel would fit in there.
  • “You could also fold the seats down and slide it in lengthways if you wanted to.”

The plastic bits

  • He’s shown photos of holes drilled in barrel’s lid and of the plastic bits.
  • “The remnants — when you drill a hole — the remnants that fall to the ground.”
  • There were experiments in drilling done on a barrel he sourced that was “as close as I could get” to the original.
  • Drill bits were purchased to try and replicated the ones that were seized.
  • The RCMP used “two sizes up and down” from a 3/8 drill bit to see what they produced. Different speeds and pressures on the drill were also tried.
  • Paper was used to capture anything that fell to the floor.
  • The experiments netted remnants “very similar” to what was recovered from the Davis barrel.
  • “Speed five with a light pressure.”
  • No, he’s not an expert in drilling plastics.

Cross-examination

  • Rouire swears the 810-20** number was checked out by RCMP to see if it belonged to someone. He placed a call to the number on Oct. 16, 2008 and learned the number was “not in service.”
  • “It was checked.” It was another RCMP officer — a ranking one who fills out search warrants — who had the task.
  • It’s not in the police notes that this task was done.
  • He agrees Crown evidence can be put into the public domain at bail hearings.
  • Phone records obtained in Oct. 2008, bail hearings were held in January 2009.
  • “If you go to court” information can get out, he agrees.
    [At that time, Lancaster and Tymchyshyn’s mother were residing together, says defence lawyer Campbell.]
  • Yes, Lancaster said different things to police over the years, some of his statements were inconsistent.
  • Yes, he and partner went to serve him a subpoena on Nov. 22, 2013 at a bar.
  • Agrees Lancaster said: “He will tell you what he knows when he’s done drinking after the weekend.”
  • “That’s what he said.”
  • In that bar, while he was drinking, Lancaster said “he saw them load him up; that he heard them say ‘don’t miss;’ that he didn’t see what happened, but he knows.”
  • Rouire confirms that nobody would have known about anything that was in the barrel.
  • He’s confronted with aspects of Alex’s statement, how he’d asked Rouire to leave, how at no point does he mention a hat, coiled plastic or specific weights in the barrel. How Alex speculated that the barrel was weighted down by rocks.
  • “From what I recall he just said ‘weighted down.'”
  • When pressed, Alex discloses: “they told me they beat him to death.”
  • “I believe he said a hard object … I’m pretty confident that he said it was a hard object.”
  • “He also did not say that he was shot, he did not say that he was stabbed.”
  • Yes, he agrees phone numbers can change subscribers over time.
  • Yes, phone records are an important part of the case.
  • There was a number 218-18** that “popped up a lot” on Davis’s records, had called him a number of times on Feb. 6, 2008.
  • After the “we will be in soon” text (sent from CT’s device) at 12:43:55 p.m., There are no more calls from 218-18** on that day.
  • The next time that number is on Davis’s records is Feb. 9, at 4:09 p.m.
  • It’s not in the police notes that someone looked into who the 218-18** number belonged to.
  • “I’m sure somebody did … somebody would have tried to find it.”

CROWN CLOSES CASE

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Falling prey to novelty: Winnipeg Police Board part ii

Lest this be perceived as a personal criticism of Winnipeg Police Board Chair Coun. Scott Fielding, it’s not.

It is, however, a critique of his motion (sadly, the very first of our new police board to foist upon the WPS) which now ties up police time to study and report back on the idea that city police officers wearing  body cameras would be a step forward for public safety and foster greater accountability.

First, this isn’t a new idea. For years, $1-million taxpayer bucks has been earmarked in the city’s 2016 projected capital budget for this proposal. Why it’s suddenly necessary to bring forward now, who knows? More on this below.

The upside, we’re told, is police uniform cameras would lead to fewer accusations against police, and secure iron-clad evidence to be used in court against suspects, leading to speedier convictions.

I agree with Chief Devon Clunis when he says the actual amount of legitimate officer-misconduct complaints are pretty low in Winnipeg.

Therefore, the benefit of blowing a million bucks on videotaping arrests as an accountability seems a waste.

And the thing is, it’s not just a million bucks.

That may be the projected initial cost of equipping 800 officers in the scheme, but the better, more practical, question to ask is: OK. We have all this great video footage. Now what?

Clunis estimated the true cost of cops wearing cameras would be double or triple the $1-million price tag.

I’d be willing to guess it may be even more than that. It’s not just as simple as a cop coming off shift and dropping off a flash card at the desk and saying. ‘see ya.’

Should that footage be requested for court purposes, it would require someone to review, annotate and transcribe it for it to be disclosed and used in a legally-appropriate manner.

One conservatively staffed 10-hour shift of 54 general patrol officers would equal [assuming the whole shift is recorded] is 540 hours of video. At three shifts a day that’s 1,620 hours of video a day to be catalogued, maintained and preserved by somebody for some potential eventual use.

Who does that work and at what cost remains the huge unanswered question. How Charter and privacy rights are affected is also an unknown at this point.

Second, video evidence, in my experience, seldom speeds up the court process.

Instead, it becomes another legitimate avenue for the defence to carefully assess and weigh a case, leading to delay. In the recent Pizza Hotline murder of Gerald Crayford, for example, there was video evidence from in the store where it happened.

From Judge Rocky Pollack’s recent decision in the D.S. case [emphasis mine].

With clarity, the store security camera recorded D.V.J.S. walking in first, hiding his face with a black toque and a bandanna.  Over his shoulder, requiring two hands to hold it, was an axe.  Mr. B… was wearing a hood and he was carrying a knife.  They came in quickly, demanding to know where the money was.  When Mr. Passawe ran toward the rear, the youths ran out the front door, crossed the street to a hospital and called 911 to report the robbery.

[11]        D.V.J.S. and Mr. B…. caught Mr. Passawe before he could escape.  D.V.J.S. held the axe in a threatening manner and demanded that the man open the till.  He went through his pockets and took his phone, headphones, a bank card and some change.  Then the robbers moved toward the front of the store.

[12]        Mr. Passawe was able to run out through the back door and hide.  Heading toward the front of the store, D.V.J.S. came upon Mr. Crayford and demanded his phone.  Mr. Crayford struggled with him, trying to get the axe.  He was able to pull the toque off during that struggle, during which he was punched by D.V.J.S.  When the attacker cried out for help, Mr. B… provided help by pulling Mr. Crayford off D.V.J.S.  That is when D.V.J.S. struck Mr. Crayford with the axe, raised it again and hit him a second time.  Both blows were with the blunt end of the axe to Mr. Crayford’s head.

[13]        After that, neither gave Mr. Crayford so much as a glance as they struggled with the cash register.  Because they were unable to get it to open, they just picked it up and left with it.

Crayford was murdered in May 2011. D.S.’ case wasn’t finalized till this July, despite the availability of video evidence. An adult co-accused has yet to face trial or deal with his matter.

The other major issue is: How can it be that at a time where the WPS is facing budget cuts that City Hall would be at all still willing to spend a million bucks on this?

More importantly, how can the police board countenance the lost police time and resources that must now be spent examining the proposal and crafting a report for their consideration?

Fielding is right when he says innovation is key if we’re to find greater efficiencies. I totally agree.

But there’s innovation backed by some kind of necessary purpose, and innovation for novelty’s sake or to score a few headlines.

This cop camera proposal falls directly in the latter camp.

If this board is to succeed, it must learn to not fall prey to go-nowhere distractions like this one will end up being.

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Some quick, sad, math

Last weekend, I wrote about chronic offender/public nuisance Perry Antoine, his release from prison and his upcoming fight with the province over the peace bond justice officials want to put him on for the next two years to try and keep him in check.

The background is all in the story. And it’s quite possible that now, at age 52 and confined largely to a wheelchair, Mr. Antoine won’t reoffend again.

But today, it occurred to me to look more closely at his record since 1979, since he became an adult, and do some math.

In that time, his record notates he’s done 5,746 days behind bars (just shy of 16 years) since ’79.

Using the recently cited provincial inmate housing costs of $174 a day to keep him in custody, that equals:

 $1,005,550 — simply to keep him in jail in that time. (This is low-balled. See *note below on why — factoring in federal prison costs would bring us to a staggering $1,610,109).

That’s not counting the cost to the taxpayer for police to arrest and process him, nor the cost to prosecute or judge him.

That’s simply to keep him detained.

More importantly, that doesn’t count the cost of probation services.

Since 1979, he’s been given the equivalent of 16.5 years worth of probation across various orders.

(Let’s say for the sake of argument he had one appointment a week at an arbitrary cost of $75 for 858 weeks. that’s $64,350).

I couldn’t tell you what the actual value of that in terms of dollars would be, but probation officers — especially the ones working the highest-risk offenders — don’t come cheap. The actual cost is much, much higher, no doubt.

Going forward, there will be more probation costs incurred as the Criminal Organization High Risk Offenders Unit (COHROU) are the Corrections unit tasked with hawking him now that he’s free.

Neither does it count the cost of storing Mr. Antoine in the drunk tank, nor the hospital visits or community health services.

Nor the victim services.

I’d peg the dollar cost to society of dealing with Mr. Antoine at well over $2 million since he turned 18.

While that’s huge, especially since he’s just one chronic offender in a province with many of them, the greater concern to me is the loss of human potential. What a seeming waste of a precious lifetime.

The other thorny issue is how despite our ‘investment’ over the years in Mr. Antoine’s — and society’s — safety and well-being, not much seems to have changed for that.

Something to ponder.

-30-

* naturally, he’d be earning parole at some points along the way in both provincial and federal systems. But any decrease in time spent would be counterbalanced by the fact it costs double to house an inmate in the federal system [where he recently served each and every day of an 8-year bit] That cost, Stats Can says, is $357 a day (2010-11 data). Factoring in that figure, it’s $1,610,109. Trust me, I’m a journalist.

[EDIT to correct date of Stats Can data]

Charges still make noise if no one’s there to hear them gather dust

courthouseIt was a criminal court circumstance which triggered palpable public ire in Manitoba.

A man accused of sexually molesting a girl but allowed to walk scot free without ever facing trial — apparently due to a sizable cop screwup where charges were laid but a warrant for his arrest wasn’t executed for 18 months — with no explanation why.

It just “gathered dust” in the system, as the common rhetoric goes.

The public freaked when the charges got tossed [if online comments are anything to go on (I know, I know…)].

But what a difference a few months and a Crown appeal to a higher court can make.

And my, how ironic sometimes life can be.

Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche has ordered the man back to face trial, ruling Provincial court Judge Brent Stewart was mistaken to rule the accused’s Charter right to be speedily brought to trial was infringed to the extent the only remedy was a rare judicial stay of proceedings.

“In my view, no breach of the accused’s rights under s. 11(a) occurred and the trial judge erred in finding a breach of s. 11(b),” Suche wrote in her recent, succinct, decision. 

Here’s the facts Suche was working with (as she found them):

In December 2009, a member of the Winnipeg Police Service contacted the accused and asked him to attend at the police station to be interviewed about a complaint.  The accused was not told anything about the nature or source of the complaint.  On his lawyer’s advice he did not attend.

On January 12, 2010 the charges in issue were laid.  The accused was not arrested until July 26, 2011.

Thereafter, the charges worked their way through Provincial Court to the point where a trial date was set for December 12, 2012.  A pre-trial motion was brought by the accused seeking a stay pursuant to s. 24(1) of the Charter on the basis that his right to be tried within a reasonable time under s. 11(b) had been breached.

The trial judge found that there had been a 36-month delay from issuance of the charges to trial. Eighteen months of that was post-arrest.  He was satisfied, on a review of the circumstances, that this delay was not unreasonable.

The balance of the delay was a period of 18 months from the date the information was sworn, until the accused’s arrest, the latter being the date that the accused learned of the charges.  No explanation was offered by the Crown for this delay.  The trial judge concluded it was solely attributable to the police.

The accused did not assert that he had suffered any prejudice and did not provide any evidence that his right to a fair trial had been impaired.  He argued that prejudice should be inferred.  The trial judge agreed and concluded that the accused’s rights under s. 11(b) had been violated and granted a stay of proceedings pursuant to s. 24(1).

… “Turning to the case at hand, the accused did not provide any evidence of any prejudice to his right to a fair trial including any economic consequences.  As the Crown points out, his position before the trial judge was based solely on presumed or inferred prejudice.”

This is key, Suche’s decision suggests, as the law of the land (as interpreted by the Supreme Court on appeals from lower courts) appears to say that charges should stand in cases of “inferred prejudice,” because the accused person can’t claim his/her interests are in jeopardy in the absence of knowing they are charged with an offence or pending trial. 

It’s an interesting twist of logic. The law in this case seems to suggest an offence can’t be tossed out even if its subject isn’t there to hear the tree fall in the forest, as it were.

And then there’s the irony.

The accused didn’t participate in the appeal hearings. And likely doesn’t know he’s now due back in court.

An arrest warrant has again been issued for him.

Will be interesting to see what happens next. I’d bet the cops bend over backwards to get this one executed fast.

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Lulonda Flett, the map of human frailties, and where they can lead us

1297184250604_ORIGINALAll it took was drunken anger and a match for a disadvantaged and unsophisticated mother of six to become Manitoba’s most recent mass killer.

To look at Lulonda Flett’s case and how she wound up where she is today — in jail for killing five people trapped in a rickety rooming house she torched at 288 Austin St. North in 2011 — is to consider truly human frailties which plague so many in our society.

The word ‘killer’ conjures up images for me, and many others. Hooded thugs who take lives without a thought. Remorseless predators so desperate to feel a sense of power and control they’d commit the ultimate sin to get there.

But that’s not Lulonda Lynn Flett, all things considered. And that’s the queasy irony of it all.

Ironic in that someone who’s as far from the stereotype of the common killer as she is, in the end, ends up taking more life away in one go than anyone else in my memory, including: teen gangsters armed with automatic guns or bona-fide family-loathing psychos.

People with histories like Ms. Flett’s don’t typically wind up in jail for mass slayings, at least not that I’ve seen. They usually wind up there because they shoplifted diapers, booze, or to feed a crack habit out of sheer desperation.

And it’s this dissonance, to me, that makes how she killed five people with one senseless act that much more of a mystery that’s been weighing on my mind for nearly two years now.

To her, the reason why she is where she is is simple. But I just don’t think that’s true. Maybe I’m over-thinking it.

“It was all about the drinking. That’s how I ended up here.” Lulonda Lynn Flett, to psychologist Dr. Kent Somers, early 2013

Could it be that simple? Or is it an excuse to try and dodge a potential life sentence in prison?

Lulonda Flett: The early years

The second-youngest of six siblings (a seventh died as an infant), Flett (then Harper) was born at the hospital in Norway House 41 years ago and soon brought back to her home community of St. Theresa Point.

Her mother’s doctor told her mom to give birth there because there was no appropriate medical facility in the small STP reserve, one of four which makes up the overall community of Island Lake.

A doctor visits there just once a month. Currently, of 521 Homes in STP – 463 have no water service and there’s an 83 per cent food insecurity rate.

Food prices are 50 per cent higher than average retail price — and this is today.

Who knows what it was like in 1971.

Mom was a community health worker and dad worked “odd jobs” to get their large family by.

Her folks drank, struggled with the bottle — excess Flett would ultimately came to see as “normative” behaviour in her later years.

Her parents’ parties often led her older sister to lock the younger kids in a bedroom when the adults were drinking. They’d watch TV or play music. She says dad would go on drinking “binges” to Winnipeg, sometimes staying there for months.

Flett’s older sister described violence breaking out after the drinking parties wound down. This prompted the sister to assume the role of protector to her sibings. She’d camp out on floor by the bedroom’s barricaded door to percent people from entering.

Sometimes, when her dad was on one of his city ‘trips,’ mom would go off to join him. Flett would be packed up to go stay at her aunt’s.

Sometime before she turned 10, Flett says an older relative began abusing her. She says she tried to tell her mother about what was happening, but was accused of “making it up so I wouldn’t have to sleep over there.”

She also says she tried to tell her aunt but, “nobody believed me [so] I just stopped trying to tell them.”

To this day, Flett remains curiously concerned about hurting her now 75-year-old mom’s relationship with her alleged abuser.

She says he tried to apologize to her once, but she rebuffed him. “I told him not to talk to me.” The relative was never charged.

Her mom, now 75 and caring for two of Flett’s children, ultimately quit drinking after Flett’s father got sick with stomach ulcers and suffered kidney failure.

Phase two: A portrait of Flett as a young woman 

At around 14 or 15 years old, Flett was sent away from STP to start school in Teulon, at a residential school where nuns ruled the roost. Her sister — her elder protector — was also there.

Raised in a home where Oji-Cree was the main dialect, Flett had to adjust her tongue to the English language as the nuns wouldn’t tolerate a word being uttered in any other language. They “insisted,” she says.

Nonetheless, Flett got good marks and enjoyed school. She “never missed a day,” she says.

According to Dr. Somers, “school represented a refuge from the relative chaos at home, [and] she agreed.” She also enjoyed playing sports.

The sister had a bit of different view, saying she dropped out at one point but was convinced to return. She and others, she says, were treated to disparaging comments from some. “Go back to the bush where you belong,” were among the insults hurled at them.

It was around this time Flett took her first drink. She met a young man named Brian, and became pregnant. This was 1986-87.

She ventured into Winnipeg and had the baby at Villa Rosa. Wanting to return to high school, arrangements were made for her to live with a relative in Brandon to complete Grade 11. It didn’t work out as planned.

Flett says that relative’s drinking problem paved her a road back to St. Theresa.

She still hoped to finish Grade 12, and find a job at the local nursing station. But it seems the challenges of life as a new mom didn’t allow that to happen as time wore on. “I had no time for myself — I always had a baby,” Flett says.

By 18, she met her husband to be, B., a man with whom she’s had five children. He was a “nice guy,” Flett says.

But ‘Mr. Nice’ wasn’t to last.

1310730736747_ORIGINAL“They used to call me raccoon eyes”

By 22, Flett and B. married, and they went to live at his parents home in nearby Garden Hill. “She was an active and supportive parent to her children,” her sister says.

Around this time things started to get ugly for her.

“She reported that her husband insisted that she drink with him, ‘forced’ her to do so,” Dr. Somers writes of his interviews with Flett.

B. and she would drink “super juice” — a noxious homebrew seen by many as a plague in the “dry” Island Lake community, given the mayhem and sickness it’s spawned there over the years.

B. also insisted Flett smoke weed and later crack cocaine.

They’d smoke up marijuana “almost daily” and come home from work over lunch to get high, Flett reported.

Their marriage and substance-sharing didn’t appear to make the bond between them stronger. Instead, she says B. became “very abusive” on a physical, sexual and emotional level. Flett also says he cheated. He couldn’t keep a job.

“According to Ms. Flett, her husband would lock her in the house, take her shoes and remove the phone so that she couldn’t contact anyone or ‘run away.’ Ms. Flett related that her husband often hit her with objects, and also burnt her with a cigarette.

“She commented, ‘they used to call me raccoon eyes’ because of the bruising from the reported assaults,” Dr. Somers wrote.

It didn’t seem to ever get better. In fact, the  abuse escalated into the evil cycle of domestic violence.

“Ms. Flett recounted an incident in which he assaulted her and then dragged her across a patch of rough ground,” Dr. Somers said. He was charged and served six months in lockup — and was fully compliant.

“[W]hen he returned to live with Ms. Flett, the violence continued and it was ‘worse.’ It was a cycle, she kept going back to him, he’d apologize and convince her he’d never do it again.

Berating herself for believing him time and again, she says her in-laws “told her that the violence was ‘always’ her fault.”

Flett’s kids began begging her to not go back to B. “They said he was going to kill me one day,” Flett says.

She and B. eventually separated. He left for Thompson. She stayed in STP — for now.

Somehow in the midst of all this Flett worked at the community Northern Store and managed to acquire her certificates in Home Care support work and First Aid along the way.

But now her drinking, it didn’t stop.

It just got worse.

2009-10: a new beginning?

In 2009, Flett came into a bit of a windfall. It may have also been her downfall.

Having never claimed any federal benefits for the kids, Flett was handed a $14,000 child-benefits cheque and they moved to Winnipeg.

That year or early the next, Flett started dating C., who was 36 and from her community. They met while he was on a drinking trip to the city.

“For Lulonda, this was the best relationship she had ever known,” Flett recently told the writer of a “Gladue” report looking at her aboriginal background and circumstances.

“He never hit me, he never abused me, and he was always there for me,” Flett said. “The two were inseparable, spending all their time together,” the report states.

For a time — and bolstered by the child-tax money – Flett returned to STP, paid for her kids’ needs, helping to fix up her mom’s home.

But C. had his own troubles. An alcoholic himself, he’d panhandle or borrow cash from a relative to get by. Eventually, he started siphoning money out of Flett and the relationship took a dark turn towards an apparent cliff.

“Lulonda returned to the city to be with C. She paid for his wants — alcohol and survived on family and friends as she had no real address. C. was very controlling over money and Lulonda especially as her money dried up. C. and Lulonda were both now on welfare and were drinking constantly.”

It was reflection upon this phase which caused her to realize the power the booze had over her life. “It was all about the drinking. That’s how I ended up here,” Flett told Dr. Somers. 

Not seeing the drinking as a problem, Flett never sought treatment. Her kids urged her to take it easy but “even these pleas” didn’t trigger a desire to seek change, Dr. Somers reports.

“She reported only that she has “tried to quit,” prompting hospitalizations for alcohol withdrawal. Flett subsequently relapsed (evidently quite quickly) to stifle emotional pain and because of her affiliation with others who were drinking.”

She equated the hospitalizations largely as normal, given her upbringing (see above).

It was around here that someone made a call to Child and Family Services, while Flett was in the throes of a drinking binge.

Flett’s children were taken away. One was already living with an aunt. Two others went to live with her mom. The others went to dad.

Flett “voiced bitterness toward B., expressing the belief that he had made the call to CFS in 2010 that resulted in the apprehension of her children,” Dr. Somers wrote. “I kind of don’t trust him,” she said.

The alcohol abuse only escalated after the kids were removed from her care. “I was lonely and depressed; I was angry at myself … I didn’t care about myself,” Flett said.

She was drinking up to a 26 oz. bottle of liquor daily up until the day after her arrest. She’d withdraw in hospital, get a valium prescription to ease the symptoms upon discharge. Resuming her drinking habit was “virtually immediate.”

It’s like she was living in a black hole: Drinking, blacking out from it, waking up and starting again.

“I wish it was me who died.” 

“I was so out of it: I just remember drinking with C.”

This: Pretty much the only thing Flett remembers about the early morning she torched the couch on porch of 288 Austin St. N. An act of anger which would wreak havoc on the lives of so many.

Just days before, she had been cut loose from the Remand Centre after being snatched on an old warrant for an assault against a relative who stayed at the rooming house. Someone she was barred from being around by virtue of court-orders.

“She reported that (C.) had told her they had argued” on the night in question, but can’t remember what about, Dr. Somers said.

“She recalled attending 288 Austin Street North … but voiced uncertainty as to her actions, almost 20 months having passed.”

Flett was later arrested in a bar and had to be told about what she did and the “extent of harm done” by the officers who interviewed her, the psychologist said, adding:

“When asked about a possible motive for the office, Ms. Flett stated she had been angry at C’s mother, who apparently resided in the rooming house … Apparently, (C’s) mother had previously called the police complaining about Ms. Flett’s behaviour at the rooming house.

According to Ms. Flett, Mr. Harper’s mother has been concerned about the number of people in the building and the resultant noise. However Ms. Flett was clear she did not intend significant harm to others nor did she anticipate that deaths would ensue from her actions. 

She commented bleakly, ‘I wish it was me who died.’

She expressed a mixture of tearful remorse for her actions tempered only by a measure of incredulity at the extent of what had occurred.”

Instead, dead are: Norman Darius Anderson, age 22; Maureen Claire Harper, age 54; Kenneth Bradley Monkman, age 49; Dean James Stranden, age 44; Robert Curtis Laforte, age 56.

Flett knew one of the men personally, and says she was related to Maureen Harper.

The wreckage of the fire was incredible to behold. I remember distinctly being there. I will never forget it. 

Nearly two years sober, now

Flett today, is a “physically robust” (Dr. Somers’ words) woman living in the “Delta” wing of the Women’s Correctional Centre just outside of Winnipeg.

It’s special needs wing of the new prison, a place where she’s been subjected to intimidation by other inmates who have discovered what she did.

Dr. Somers, in his lengthy report on Flett, makes several findings about her psychological makeup and abilities, ultimately conclusing she’s a “vulnerable individual” who has serious intellectual deficits and only “modest internal controls” to help herself manage her behaviour.

“A significant aspect of these findings from intellectual testing, although notably limited at present, is that these data suggest a context for understanding Ms. Flett’s responses to events in her life. That is, her capacity for learning from prior experiences is likely to differ from that of others [whose abilities are are typical for their age.]…

“Her responses to stress or to problems in her personal life are likely to be more limited and less effective than are those of most others her age. Her actions are most likely to be directed by immediate considerations [most likely about herself] rather than anticipation of long-term consequences [those affecting both herself and others]. Her focus on her own needs and interests over those of others is not a reflection of callous self-interest, it is an expression of her limited capacity for anticipating others’ needs or reactions while being [in comparison] acutely aware of her own hurt, fear and perceived options.

She needs help, Somers ultimately finds.

Also, she’s no psychopath.

Somers found no “compelling evidence of psychopathy” in the woman.

That is: no display of traits suggesting exaggerated self-importance, callous lack of empathy for others, multiple and versatile patterns of offending, nor frank manipulations of others. (Those are essentially his words).

He notes, however, several “historical factors” associated with Flett’s offending risk. This quasi ‘probability of future harm’ assessment includes the findings:

  • Unabated substance abuse, with no intervention.
  • Chronic domestic abuse with physical injuries
  • Emotional neglect
  • Sexual abuse which persisted despite having tried to report it.
  • Disrupted schooling
  • No interventions; no treatment for mental health issues in past.

The Crown wants to send Flett to prison for life for what she did, for her guilty pleas to five counts of manslaughter.

Her own lawyers want to see her serve time amounting to no more than 10 years.

You can read all about the sentencing process elsewhere. That’s not the purpose of this (lengthy) post.

See, the thing is, after considering all the factors, I just don’t know what’s appropriate here in terms of jailhouse punishment. 

Let’s face it, even if she does get life, she’ll still be eligible — eligible — for parole after seven years. So really, the Crown’s bid is one for lifetime supervision. Considering the horrific double-fatal arson case of Howard Mason, the request may not be out of line. The request appears to fall a little flat, however, when considering Flett’s nearly total lack of criminal involvement.

Also muddying the mix is her comment to Dr. Somers about not anticipating deaths would result from her actions.

It has me seriously wondering: Can someone with Flett’s background — with the life she’s been through and her level of intoxication at the time — actually fire the synapses which would suggest otherwise? That she actually knew what she was doing?

I’m just not so sure.

Some parting words of forgiveness

Marie Anderson, the mother of Norman Anderson, who died in the horrible blaze, wrote Flett a simply-worded letter. The level of forgiveness expressed is unusual, and if taken sincerely – inspiring.

“I often think about you and wonder how you must be feeling. 

I am writing you this letter to let you know I am not mad or angry with you and that I love you even though I never met you.

It is really hard for me to think about this person that I love so much, that was taken away from me suddenly. 

I pray that things will go well for you in court and I do not want to lay charges but it’s not up to me, to make that decision.

I want you to know I want to put this behind me and move on with my life

God bless you and take care

–Marie Anderson

*** Note: The factual contents of this post were largely sourced from a psychological report written by Dr. Somers in April 2013 and a Gladue report authored for Flett’s sentencing hearing. I’ve attributed where possible — most, if not all the direct quotes from Flett are from the Somers report. 

Edited post-posting to clean up typos.

-30-

The injured hospital

 

1297171642844_ORIGINALWe’ll never know what good the $1.2 million Michelle Cadger, 49, somehow managed to pilfer from the Misericordia Health Centre over a decade might have done if it had gone to public health services or capital projects instead of her raging VLT habit and penchant for gold.

Cadger will spend at least a year locked in Stony Mountain prison after being sentenced to three years this week for theft over $5,000. [Article here].

But, like Judge Wanda Garreck said, this was far from a victimless crime. Ultimately, as she says, it’s the public left holding the bag.

I can’t explain how an audit found $1.46 million was missing, but Cadger — who says she didn’t track her many thefts — only pleaded to stealing the million two.

I can’t explain how her husband of 25 years didn’t know something was amiss given they suddenly had a new Toyota and his wife — who made a $40,000 annual salary — had acquired luxury goods including:

  • A Louis Vuitton wallet
  • A Christian Dior purse
  • Many pieces of gold jewelry, some crusted with diamonds
  • A Tag Heuer watch
  • Diamond earrings

And while those items — along with the thousands left in bank account balances, the Toyota Corolla Sport [?] and envelopes stuffed with cash found in Cadger’s apartment — have been forfeited to the Crown, it was admitted it barely makes a dent to compensate what she took.

And then there’s the intangibles and ancillary costs the hospital [read: the taxpayer] incurred as a result of the colossal ripoff Cadger managed to perpetrate.

But I won’t hector you on it. Instead, below is presented the bulk of the victim impact statement the hospital’s CEO, Rosie Jacuzzi, filed in the sentencing hearing, for the record. An offer to read it into the record was declined, but the Oct. 28 statement was left in the hands of the judge to take into account.

The theft by Ms. Cadger has had a significant impact upon this small finance staff, other heath centre staff, the executive and the board of directors. MHC has never experienced a theft by an employee. Management and staff felt a sense of betrayal and violation of trust, a core value of the health centre and our founders, the Misericordia Sisters.

The large size of this theft, and the lengthy period of time over which it occurred has had a negative impact on the morale of staff. The review and interviewing process which have been necessary due to this theft has caused a high level of stress and anxiety to all involved.

Staff felt isolated and the morale plummeted resulting in turnover within the finance department. In addition, there was a loss of confidence in the finance department’s ability to steward resources effectively.

Given that MHC is a health care facility which is funded largely by public funds, I am also concerned that this theft has negatively impacted the excellent reputation of MHC and the Misericordia Health Centre Foundation, which is a charitable foundation providing further financial support for MHC.

This case has been widely reported on in the media. The negative publicity has potentially compromised donations and donor confidence in how the health centre steward their funds. MHC is in a 43 million dollar redevelopment campaign where out foundation is responsible to raise 7 million dollars from private donors toward the overall capital costs.

“The money that was stolen had a direct impact on the health centre’s ability to provide enhanced patient equipment, services and upgrades not funded by government and public dollars. The health centre’s operating and capital budgets are lean and ancillary funding is relied upon to provide enhancements that improve the quality of life for our patients and residents.

“In addition, the time spent by staff, executive and board of directors as a result of this theft has been significant.

The theft was first uncovered in January 2010, when the finance manager became aware that an excessive cash amount was ordered for the ATM located ay MHC in December.

As a result of this discovery, an internal review in January 2010 took months of time of the finance manager as it was necessary that she carry out an analysis of the physical flow of cash, how the cash was used and how it was recorded in the books.

As a result of her review with which revealed the cash shortage, MHC hired KPMG to carry out a forensic audit. This process took weeks to months of extensive interviews of the finance department staff by KPMG and a review involving an analysis of transactions for a ten year period.

Given the nature of this audit, finance department staff spent weeks retrieving and reviewing financial records and documents and meeting with accountants and the police in the course of the investigation.

Both the executive and the board of directors have also spent significant time reviewing these issues and providing direction. An extensive amount of staff timer and energy has been diverted to this theft which could have been utilized in a more constructive manner.

In addition to financial losses as a result the staff time spent on this extensive investigation, there have also been significant costs incurred by MHC, including the costs of the KMPG forensic audit, internal audit and legal fees incurred in providing advice to MHC.”

While it remains a mystery how nobody noticed the missing money for so long, it would be wrong to blame the victim. Misericordia does good work.

It would be wrong to let the actions of one dowdy gambling addict derail the public good they’re trying to do for the benefit of the sick and elderly in the city.

More information on the centre’s “future of care” program can be found here.

‘I never had that kind of power!’

‘I never had that kind of power!’

Pissed off at their gang pal being maced and mugged by a rival banger, five people — all relatively young — elect to get revenge.

Their chosen method of retribution?

Storm out of their Furby Street safehouse armed with hockey sticks, head into a basement suite at a nearby Sherbrook Street apartment block and torch the place by stuffing paper, sheets, blankets — whatever — onto the hot stove. And then run.

“Gonzos,” a co-accused is reported as saying as he put stuff over the hot stove. “Everything’s on fire.” The entire building was destroyed. Many lost everything except the clothes on their backs.

“As soon as I saw the fire, I ran,” the youth said. “I couldn’t believe the smoke.”

What proof did the Bloodz gang have to show this apartment should be targeted?

They once saw a Mad Cowz member hanging out in there. So, nothing conclusive. Basically just a hunch.

One result: a $1-million dollar devastation, 40 people left homeless, 19 of those people [including a bunch of kids] hospitalized, a pregnant woman’s miscarriage, and a whole whack of terror and fear for innocents who to this day still have trouble sleeping lest they not get out alive again.

Another result? A 17-year-old ‘kid’ now entertaining the option of being able to run his own gang crew because of the notoriety his despicable act of arson gained him.

Another result: Three adult suspects likely to skate easy in court because it’s going to be difficult to prove who actually did what and when.

And the final result: A suspect on the lam for nearly a year now because family members are choosing to hide him from police on some reserve instead of doing the right thing and hauling him into the nearest police detachment to face justice.

Yes. Oh yes. There have been very few crimes in Winnipeg of late that have both intrigued me, sickened me and infuriated me like the gang-retribution arson at 577 Sherbrook St. — perpetrated Jan. 14 in the early morning hours when many of the children, women and men peacefully living out their lives there were likely sleeping and had to run like hell to save their skins.

I wonder how they’d feel today knowing one of the people who caused their misery — he’s 17 today — now stands to gain from it if he so chooses.

From the Crown, referencing the psych report conducted for the youth’s benefit after he pleaded guilty:

“I think the most jarring part of this is his gang membership and how he feels about it … when asked about his future plans regarding gang association, he states he’s not certain what else he wants to do. On one hand, he says he’s considering quitting the gang association. However on the other hand now he could be a leader, have his own gang or crew,” Ericka Dolcetti, quoting from the report.

“And he added as an exclamation: ‘I never had that kind of power!,’

“He’s not learned from this at all. In fact, maybe this has given him some street cred,” Dolcetti said.

“… He is absolutely a danger to the public,” Dolcetti said today. “He uses his fists and he doesn’t use his words.”

When the group fled the scene, they returned to the safe house and continued partying.

“Yeah, we got them!,” “I lit up the kitchen!,” and “I lit up the couch,” were their happy cries.

When cops arrived a few minutes later, the officers themselves heard though the door:

“I burnt the whole fucking place down — go check it out!,”

The party ended when cops came through the door at gunpoint. The jig was up.

—-

Since the age of 6, the offender in question has been bounced from CFS foster placement to CFS foster placement — as many as 15 times in a decade.

He drinks, yes, but weed is his daily drug of choice (although he’s experimented with cocaine, morphine, ecstasy and Restoril).

“Weed is my best friend … I can’t answer if I’d ever stop,” he told a probation officer.

In recent years, he’s had several family members die. That’s been hard on him.

Due to the constant shuffling around, he has major attachment issues, feels “frequently worthless and has been diagnosed with PTSD due to his upbringing. He lives “vividly in the moment of past trauma,” a leading youth psychotherapist says. He has an “overreaction to threats, real or imagined.”

He says it was a female cousin who “pressured” him into tagging along with the group that morning — pushed him out the door, telling him to go back up his brothers.

“He is remorseful,” his lawyer says.

The youth gave an oddly-worded apology for his actions in court. Odd in the sense his words seemed so careful and structured that one couldn’t help but question their sincerity.

“[I] take responsibility on my part — [I] burned down that apartment building. I know it’s irreversible what I’ve done. I’m very remorseful for the people I hurt, the pain I caused  and damage I caused [to] people in that apartment building.

Alcohol and drugs had a really bad effect on me that night. I plan to work on that during my stay at the Agassiz Youth Centre. I also plan to work on my social skills, my employment skills and other skills that are available to me at the Agassiz Youth Centre.

I’ve suffered lots, lots of deaths in my life — losing my mom and dad [is a] big problem for me … depression, overwhelmed with anger … I still have major thinking errors.”

—-

At the time of the arson, the youth was on probation and had been AWOL from his latest group home for just shy of a month.

Prior to that, he breached conditions of his probation on Dec. 5, 9, 12, 13, 14, 15 and 16. It wasn’t stated in court why he wasn’t breached and put back in lockup after he came back on the 6th.

Prior to that, between October 21-29, he also breached by not returning to his group home.

Prior to that, on Aug 22-23, he didn’t check in as directed to do so. He was arrested for this and got bail.

There’s no real point of presenting any of the above, except a certain professional satisfaction that there will be a record of this somewhere — a record beyond the basic newspaper retelling of what happened, and how such a major crime was dealt with by the system.

This kid is a mess, and you could with a straight face make the argument he never really had a chance to be anything but.

At the end of the day however, he’ll be free 27 months from now. And I hope, sincerely, we’ve seen the last of the worst he’s capable of doing.

-30-

Shawn Lamb: the record, for the record

(Chris Procaylo/Winnipeg Sun/QMI)


In recent days, many have requested the publication of accused Winnipeg serial killer Shawn Lamb’s extensive record of criminal court convictions in full, given his case has raised so many questions about chronic offending.

I present it here, in full, for the public record.

Entries listed note the court centre where the convictions were entered, the charge and the resulting sentence imposed.

Background on what you’re about to read below can be found here, here, here, and here. And here.

  • 1976/08/18 Toronto

Attempt Fraud

Conditional Discharge, 1 yr probation

  • 1976/11/02 Barrie 

Theft over $200

Theft under $200

Breach probation

Break, enter and commit offence

6 months jail on the theft over, with lesser periods noted concurrent on other charges.

  • 1979/04/13 Barrie

Break, enter and theft

18 months jail, the sentence was appealed and reduced to 9 months

  • 1979/05/30 Barrie

Break, enter and theft

6 months jail consecutive to sentence already being served

  • 1979/09/25 Barrie

Possession of a narcotic

15 days jail

  • 1979/11/27 Guelph

Escape lawful custody

9 months consecutive to sentence already being served, later appealed down to time in custody.

  • 1979/12/14 Port Hope

Mischief

30 days concurrent with sentence already being served

  • 1980/07/07 Barrie

Drug possession

Possess for the purpose of trafficking x2

9 months and probation on possession, 2 years on the trafficking counts.

  • 1980/12/21 Winnipeg 

Armed robbery

Assault peace officer x2

2 years on the robbery, 6 months on each of the assault PO counts (consecutive)

  • 1984-04-18 Winnipeg

Assault causing bodily harm

5 months jail

  • 1984-11-29 Winnipeg

Theft under $200

1 month jail

  • 1985-02-28 Winnipeg

Assault cause bodily harm

Mischief

6 months on the assault, 1 month concurrent on mischief. Assault sentence was hiked on appeal to 12 months to be followed by 18 months of probation.

  • 1987-03-11 Barrie

Assault x2

Assault

Fail comply with bail conditions

6 months consecutive on the first two assaults, 3 months each on the other assault and bail breach, consecutive.

  • 1987-08-20 Guelph

Attempted obstruction of justice

Assault

Fail comply with bail conditions

Fail attend court (in Calgary, Alberta)

Theft over $1,000

Fail comply with probation order

5 months less a day on each charge, concurrent

  • 1988-06-06 Chilliwack, British Columbia

Assault

30 days and 2 years of probation

  • 1988-08-05 Vancouver

Care and control of a vehicle while over .08

$600 fine and 40 days time in custody noted

  • 1989-04-19 Edmonton

Mischief

$250 fine and 10 days time in custody noted

  • 1989-11-15 Edmonton

Utter threats

Possession of a weapon

1 day jail on each charge.

  • 1990-01-29 Edmonton

Uttering a forged document

30 days jail

  • 1990-07-12 Edmonton

Theft under $1,000

Obstruct peace officer

$200 and 15 days time served on the theft; $50 and three days time served on the obstruct

  • 1990-07-16 Edmonton

Theft over $1,000

3 months

  • 1991-02-21 Edmonton (RCMP High Prairie arrest)

Theft under $1,000 x2

Fail to appear

Fail to attend court

Fail bail condition

$200 fine on thefts plus 20 days jail, $100 fine on fail appear plus 10 days, $100 fine plus 10 days on attend court breach, $200 plus 20 days on bail breach

  • 1991-03-13 Slave Lake

Assault

5 months jail 

  • 1991-08-01 Edmonton

Theft under $1,000

$50 fine and 10 days TIC

  • 1992-02-06 Slave Lake (Slave Lake RCMP arrest)

Sexual assault

4 years prison plus a 5 year firearms prohibition

  • 1992-06-08 Innisfail 

Fail to comply with probation order

30 days concurrent with prison sentence

1993-06-17

PAROLED

1994-06-29

PAROLE VIOLATION, RECOMMITTED TO PRISON

1995-11-28

STATUTORY RELEASE

1995-11-28

STAT RELEASE VIOLATION, RECOMMITTED TO PRISON

  • 1996-07-05 Edmonton

Assault

9 months

  • 1997-07-09 Edmonton

Fail to appear

Theft under $5,000

1 day on fail to appear, $150 fine and three days TIC on theft

  • 1997-12-19 Edmonton

Break, enter and theft

4 month conditional sentence and 1 year probation

  • 1998-09-17 Winnipeg

Possession of property obtained by crime over $5,000

Public mischief

3 months on each charge consecutive plus two years of probation

  • 1999-06-23 Winnipeg

Utter forged document

Possession of property obtained by crime

30 days jail and a restitution order

  • 2000-01-14 Winnipeg

Utter forged document

Possess property obtained by crime over $5,000

Utter forged document

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Fail to comply with bail condition

45-day intermittent sentence on first 2 charges, 30-days intermittent on next two, 1 day on the bail breach

  • 2000-04-06 Winnipeg

Unlawfully at large

30 days consecutive to sentence already being served

  • 2000-09-11 Winnipeg

Unlawfully in a dwelling house

Assault cause bodily harm

Fail to comply with probation order

2 years jail and two years of probation

  • 2001-09-11 Winnipeg

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Fraud over $5,000

1 year jail on each charge concurrent

2001-09-22 Winnipeg

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Fraud over $5,000

1 year concurrent with sentence already running

  • 2002-03-26 Winnipeg

Utter threats

Time served of 68 days

  • 2003-04-25 Winnipeg

Theft under $5,000

Utter threats

Assault peace officer

Time served of 6 months and 7 days

  • 2004-12-24 Winnipeg

Fail to comply with bail order x2

Fail to appear

Time served of 45 days on each charge concurrent

  • 2005-06-30 Winnipeg

Utter forged document

Break, enter and theft

Theft under $5,000

Theft over $5,000

Posess. property obtained by crime under $5,000

12 months jail with 11 months TIC noted and 3 years probation

  • 2006-08-31 Winnipeg

Assault peace officer

Possess property obtained by crime under $5,000

Time served of 115 days

  • 2007-09-07 Winnipeg

Possession of property obtained by crime under $5,000

Theft under $5,000

Posession of stolen credit card

6 months jail and 274 days of pre-sentence custody noted

  • 2008-11-07 Winnipeg

Carry concealed weapon

Possess property obtained by crime

Time served of 205 days

  • 2009-01-16 Winnipeg

Attempted Robbery

18 months conditional sentence, 3 years probation, supervised

  • 2010-05-26 Winnipeg

Possession of property obtained by crime — motor vehicle

Forgery x9

Theft under $5,000

Robbery with violence x2

13.5 months at double credit (27 months) noted, 19 months going forward AND the resumption of the 2009 conditional sentence order and the 3 years supervised probation.

-30-


SHAWN LAMB: Where does the buck stop in Manitoba Justice?

(Carolyn Sinclair, one of Lamb’s alleged victims)

After having a couple of days now to be immersed in the information on suspected city serial murderer Shawn Cameron Lamb, there’s still so many more questions than answers.

And it’s not the usual questions eating away at me.

For me, and I admit it’s really gotten under my skin, the number one thing that’s been eating away at my mind is:

Why was Lamb free prior to the full expiry of his 19-month jail sentence (from May 26, 2010).

He served only 13 of the months despite his horrendous record.

But more importantly:

Why was a provincial judge’s order regarding how Lamb’s sentence should be served either totally ignored or at least countermanded by Manitoba Corrections?

It’s a little convoluted, but please bear with me – the context is uber-important.

In January 2009, Lamb got a major break from Judge Wanda Garreck: an 18-month long conditional sentence and three years of probation (supervised) for an attempted robbery of a mom who simply happened to be in the area pushing her baby near where Lamb was smoking crack.

As it’s often touted, a CSO is “a jail sentence” where a criminal is allowed to serve it in the community, usually tied to several stringent conditions which are supposed to be supervised and enforced by a “sentence supervisor” and probation officers.

Breaching CSO conditions is supposed to lead to immediate rearrest and incarceration and the possibility of having the remainder of the CSO terminated and turned into real jail time in a real locked jail.

Some of Lamb’s CSO conditions included: mandatory counselling, mandatory residential rehab, Narcotics and Alcoholics anonymous provisions, 100 hours of community service, no drugs, no drinking, seeking and maintaining employment or schooling, medical or psychiatric treatment as directed.

Most importantly, it included a strict curfew, structured as follows:

First 6 months: Absolute. 24-7 curfew.

Second 6 months: 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.

Third 6 months: 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.

So. Lamb walks out of the Remand that day and roughly a week later is re-involved, or as the Crown put it: “He gets right back to work.”

Lamb swipes a Ford Taurus from a banquet hall and then forges signatures on 9 cheques stolen from inside the vehicle. He’s not arrested right away because police didn’t immediately recognize him on surveillance tapes.

He’s not arrested until April 2009, not until after he’s committed two “opportunistic” violent robberies and admits he’s been using crack while out on his conditional release.

Anyhow, he sits in jail for 13.5 months until that fateful day when Lamb appears before Judge Linda Giesbrecht on May 26, 2010.

She’s told of his horrendous record, the facts of his slew of crimes and given a complete breakdown of how many violent convictions he’s had.

Giesbrecht said Lamb’s rap sheet was “coming very close” to the worst she’d ever seen.

Lamb, when given the opportunity, goes on an extremely lengthy tirade about how he’s changed, the steps he’s taken to correct his life; that he was “doomed to fail” when he was granted the CSO in 2009 because things didn’t immediately fall in place for him as expected.

He’s taken responsibility and doesn’t want to hurt anyone any more, he says.

(Remember, Lamb’s been in front of 45 or more sentencing judges since 1976. He’s old hat at how things work by now.)

A joint recommendation for a sentence is proposed, and accepted for guilty pleas to 16 charges.

The sentence was: 13.5 months of time-served at double time credit (27 months), 19 months going forward, and an order that the remaining months of the previous conditional sentence (Y’know, the one he totally breached within a week or so of being out on it) would not start up again until he was released from jail on the new 19-month term. 

Importantly, the Crown stayed an allegation he breached the conditional sentence order. This is key. The CSO was not converted into jail time.

It was simply suspended — held “in abeyance” is how it was put in court. There was discussion between the lawyers as to whether this was the case, and it was agreed: The clock on the CSO stopped ticking when he was rearrested and was not completed.

In pronouncing Lamb’s sentence, Giesbrecht couldn’t have been more direct as to her wishes.

“It’s clear when you’re released the conditional sentence — whatever’s left of that — starts up, and that will be a considerable restriction on your liberty,” she said. “There’s going to be lots of help for you in the community when you’re released.”

She repeated same a few minutes later:

“That (CSO) will not run while you continue to serve your 19-month sentence … and whatever is remaining (13-14 months) will continue to run after you’re released for your 19-month sentence.”

But it didn’t. The province confirmed as much on Tuesday.

Seemingly adding insult to injury, Lamb — despite his extensive record of giving his middle finger to the law — still got automatic “earned remission,” and had six months lopped off his jail time.

So much for community supervision. So much for Giesbrecht’s ruling.

I asked the province the following prior to writing on this in Wednesday’s Winnipeg Sun.

“Just wondering about that request I asked for on Shawn Lamb’s release date last year?
Also, is there a chance I could please speak with someone in corrections about this case?
Upon his release last year, Lamb was supposed to have completed the remainder of an 18 month conditional sentence handed to him in January 2009 (he was rearrested a few months (after)  it started and held in abayance until his 2010 sentence was complete.
Wondering if that’s the case here.”

Here’s the two sentence response I got:

LAMB was released on June 24, 2011 (including 27 months of remand credit).
On the question of serving out the Conditional sentence order – for all intents and purposes the conditional sentence was satisfied, including the period of incarceration, so it had been served and all conditions and requirements had been met when he was released on June 24, 2011.

My request to speak with an official in corrections was not addressed.

(To be honest, I wasn’t expecting it to be. For the largest department in Manitoba Justice, you strangely seldom hear a scurrying word about their operations.)

Justice Minister Andrew Swan wouldn’t comment when asked about Lamb’s early release, citing the start of the criminal prosecution and ongoing police investigation.

I’d ask you to note how this issue really has nothing, except very tangentially, to do with the murder or sexual assault allegations Lamb now faces.

It does, however, have everything to do with where the buck stops in Manitoba’s justice system.

The only way I can see to put it is like this: A judge’s order regarding how best to sentence Lamb was either disobeyed, ignored or countermanded by corrections officials. 

I don’t know who allows the department to do this.

The public expects that a judge’s decision is final and should be obeyed.

If a Manitoba Justice department doesn’t seem to take judges’ rulings on sentences seriously, why should criminals? Why should you or I?

I expect that a judge’s decision be respected and followed as it was directed.

In this serious case, it wasn’t. We don’t know if Lamb took the mandatory rehab and psychological programming. Did he complete the 100 hours of community service? We don’t know.

We’re not really allowed to know and it’s ridiculous.

And I think we all deserve answers what happened here.

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