Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Man may face 15 years for beating death of former friend

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Justice officials are seeking a 15-year prison sentence against a Winnipeg man who killed his former friend with a hammer.

Daniel Peterson was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year after jurors rejected his claim of self-defence. He returned to court Wednesday for sentencing.

Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche has reserved her decision until Friday. Peterson asked for as little as six years behind bars, less time already served.

Peterson was originally charged with second-degree murder but was seeking a full acquittal, claiming it was a legally justified homicide.

He admits beating James Cruickshank, 44, to death in a Hargrave Street apartment in October 2008. But Peterson claimed he attacked the victim while defending himself from a sexual assault.

Cruickshank died of massive head trauma after being hit repeatedly with the weapon. Peterson confessed to police when they interviewed him two days later. He claims Cruickshank forced a sexual act on him while the two men drank inside the suite. Defence lawyer Amanda Sansregret told jurors that amounts to provocation.

The victim’s family told the Free Press they were distressed by the verdict and the way their loved one was portrayed in the hearings.

"He was a family member. He was a son, he was a brother, he was an uncle, and he was a person, and they didn’t get to see him that way. You know, they saw him as a gay, coke-selling rapist," a family member, who didn’t want his name used, said of Cruickshank.

"We never got a chance to say that to the jury. They just saw him as Daniel Peterson described him -- (and Peterson is) the guy that killed him."

www.mikeoncrime.com

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