Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
Posted: 05/7/2014 11:54 AM | Comments: 0
Last Modified: 05/7/2014 1:09 PM | Updates
A Winnipeg man has been convicted in connection with the morphine-overdose killing of Wendy Henry.
Fifteen months after closing arguments were presented in his unusual case, Curtis Haas, 53, returned to court this morning to learn he was being convicted on charges of manslaughter, drug-trafficking and criminal negligence causing death.
It's believed to be the first such "social trafficking" conviction of its kind in Manitoba.
Court of Queen's Bench Justice Gerald Chartier found Haas's unlawful act of trafficking "street morphine" pills to Henry, 20, at his apartment on Oct. 27, 2007 was directly tied to her death in hospital about two days later.
"His actions contributed substantially to her death," said Chartier. "Mr. Haas knew the drugs were dangerous."
Providing Henry with up to 16 morphine tablets was an act Haas should have known could kill her, the judge said.
An autopsy found Henry died of an overdose, and she had a dangerous 1,035 nanograms of morphine in every millilitre of her blood.
Henry and another woman who lived in the same apartment block as Haas both overdosed within 24 hours of each other.
The other woman survived. Chartier found Haas was aware the other woman went to hospital for treatment, and didn't act to ensure Henry got help as well.
He had also taken the drug in the past and found it "worked too much," so he flushed his supply, said Chartier.
"Mr. Haas's conduct caused Ms. Henry's death," said Chartier.
Haas originally told police Henry wanted the morphine from him to "get high."
He later changed his story, claiming she needed it to deal with chronic pain. He also told a different version to a security guard in his building, claiming Henry had "gotten into" his stash.
Haas denied any wrongdoing. It was Haas who called 911 and tried to revive Henry when he discovered she wasn't breathing. His lawyer argued Henry was responsible for her own demise because she willingly ingested the pills.
"Once a person has that in their hands, they have a choice of what they are going to do with it," Darren Sawchuk told Queen's Bench Justice Gerald Chartier in his closing argument.
Sawchuk said there was no evidence Haas even knew how much morphine Henry consumed, and she may have snuck some of the pills from his stash without his knowledge.
After the convictions were pronounced, the Crown moved to revoke Haas's bail and see him taken into custody. A revocation hearing will be held later this month.
Haas has no criminal record, suffers with health issues and hasn't breached any of his conditions.
Henry lived with her father and two younger siblings. She filled her days caring for her two-year-old daughter, working with disabled children for the Winnipeg School Division, and taking sign-language classes.
-- with Free Press files
Updated on Wednesday, May 7, 2014 at 12:03 PM CDT: Adds photo
1:09 PM: Corrects name of Court of Queen's Bench Justice Gerald Chartier
Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories? Please use the form below and let us know.
Having problems with the form?Contact Us Directly
U.S. journalist's death 'disgusting:' Harper
Marijuana supplier named Pot Playboy gets 27 years
Havixbeck promises to overhaul 311
Judge: Girl, 13, is fit for trial for Calif. fire
Steeves pledges changes to photo radar practices
Last 4 hostages freed in suburban Chicago standoff
Football Herd has great chance with Yantz
California Wildfire destroys 8 homes, 10 buildings
Provincial government's poor financial outlook negatively impacts City of Winnipeg: study
Assembly of First Nations demands action to ensure safety for Indigenous women
MS River Rouge will have to leave the Alexander Docks
Injuries sideline Bombers Vega and Kuale
Spy agency improperly kept Canadian info
Holder says he understands mistrust of police
Bowman unveils plan to help small biz by lowering tax burden
Airstrike kills wife and child of Hamas figure
Language watchdog examines Baird's tweets
Cohon to step down as CFL commissioner
New CMHR stamp unveiled
NDP MP quits over Mulcair's stance on Israel
WSU grizzly smarter than the average bear
Ukrainian govt troops take over much of Luhansk
Families struck by tragedies consoled at massive vigil
Neanderthals and humans had 'ample time' to mix
Missing Ontario journalist found dead
36 dead, 7 missing in Hiroshima landslide
Don't waste Wednesday's wonderful weather
Obama to speak after militants behead American
Top exhibit designer visits CMHR
Missing man, 54, last seen in Elmwood
Boyfriend admits to killing, says he was 'different guy'
Ceasefire necessary in Ukraine
Germany, Italy, ready to send arms to Iraq Kurds
Travel journalists descending on Winnipeg for Canadian Tourism Commission event
Hockey pair back atop 'Amazing Race Canada'
Bombers uniforms give loyal fans the Blues
Other fish in the sea? Not so, says crusading chef
Canadian rock band Moist to play at Burton Cummings Theatre
CMA votes to stand against smoking 'plants'
Canada's Armstrong to receive bronze