Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Charge upgraded to murder in Stobbe shooting

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The Canada Day shooting death of a well-liked Winnipeg woman at a downtown apartment was no accident, homicide investigators now believe.

Michele Stobbe, 28, was slain — not the victim of a firearm mishap, police alleged on Sunday.

Stobbe was shot to death inside a 21st-floor apartment at the Chateau 100 highrise at 72 Donald St. just before 3 a.m. on July 1.

Police initially said John Elwood Cameron, 35, was handling his 9-millimetre Beretta pistol in the suite when Stobbe grabbed at his arm, causing the gun to fire.

Cameron was charged with criminal negligence causing Stobbe's death, an indication police thought his behaviour was criminally reckless, but lacking the intent to kill.

Physical evidence — including autopsy results — have now revealed the story of Stobbe grabbing Cameron's arm didn't add up, Const. Jason Michalyshen said Sunday.

"Information that was provided with respect to the victim either reaching out, taking a hold of the firearm … does not fit with what we've observed," he said.

Cameron was recently rearrested in custody and charged with second-degree murder. He is presumed innocent and has not yet applied for bail.

The new allegation carries with it the prospect of much more serious consequences should he be convicted.

While the criminal negligence charge he faced carried with it a four-year minimum sentence, the penalty for second-degree murder is life in prison without a chance for parole for 10 years.

Police said Stobbe and Cameron had been in a "casual, long-term relationship," but couldn't say if they were together at the time of the shooting in Cameron's apartment.

Investigators classify the case as a domestic violence-related killing.

People had been socializing there earlier and Stobbe was the last guest at the party, police said.

Michalyshen declined to comment on events leading up to the shooting or any possible motive .

"I'm not getting into those details," he said.

Cameron legally owned and had registered the handgun, police said.

Cameron called 911 and remained with Stobbe in the suite until police got there.

He was arrested on the criminal negligence and two weapons-related charges shortly afterwards.

A well-educated telecommunications engineer who hails from western Manitoba, Cameron had no history of violence, court records show.

Stobbe's friends have been mourning her death through social media, where they're remembering her as a sweet person.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

 

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