Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Landmark case gets underway in overdose death of woman

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A landmark criminal case is underway in a Winnipeg courtroom.

Curtis James Haas, 52, is charged with manslaughter after allegedly giving a fatal dose of morphine to a young woman following a rock concert. His much-delayed Queen's Bench trial began this morning.

Haas was originally set for trial last summer, but it was adjourned because of medical issues he was suffering at the time.

Wendy Henry, 20, collapsed and stopped breathing in October 2007 after taking a number of morphine tablets inside a Dufferin Avenue rooming-house suite that Haas owned. She was rushed to hospital but died the following morning.

Henry lived with her father and two younger siblings, filling her days by caring for her two-year-old daughter, working with disabled children with the Winnipeg School Division and taking sign-language classes.

On the night of her fatal overdose, Henry and some friends attended an Ozzy Osbourne concert. She then stayed the night with her mother -- who lived in the same Manitoba Housing apartment complex as Haas. Somehow, she ended up inside his suite. Neighbours told the Free Press at the time Haas was outgoing, often sitting in his sixth-floor suite with the door open and traffic coming in and out day and night.

The case is believed to be the first of its kind in Manitoba. Winnipeg police have said similar arrests and prosecutions could follow if it can be proven a drug dealer's customer died from an illegal product.

 

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