A Winnipeg jury is now deciding whether to grant a convicted killer the green light to seek early release from prison.
Deliberations began this afternoon in the ‘faint-hope" hearing for Edmund Roopnarine-Singh. The 12 jurors will remain sequestered until they reach a unanimous verdict.
Roopnarine-Singh, 40, was convicted of first-degree murder for the 1995 killing of fellow inmate Bertrand Myran inside Stony Mountain Institution, where he was serving an aggravated-assault sentence at the time. He was given an automatic term of life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years.
He never denied the fatal stabbing, but claimed it was done in self-defence. Myran was an aboriginal gang leader who had been involved in putting a "hit list" out on black inmates such as Roopnarine-Singh. Jurors rejected his defence at trial in finding him guilty of the planned, pre-meditated slaying.
Now Roopnarine-Singh is asking another jury to consider his faint-hope bid under Sec. 745 of the Criminal Code. The onus is now on him to convince jurors he deserves a chance to ask the National Parole Board to release him prior to hitting his parole-eligibility date in 2020.
If the jury rejects his bid, he can't apply. But if they approve, the parole board has the final say.
Jurors heard testimony over the past week from several correctional officials who've worked closely with Roopnarine-Singh and support his bid for early release on the grounds he is a changed man.
Roopnarine-Singh’s wife and aunt also testified, saying he wants to work with troubled youth and share his life story once he’s paroled.
There's an added twist to this case: Roopnarine-Singh is not a Canadian citizen and faces automatic deportation back to his native Trinidad if he is released.