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Man pleads guilty to manslaughter in stabbing death

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Michael Kerr can’t say what prompted him to repeatedly plunge a knife into a stranger’s chest following a night of drinking inside a downtown Winnipeg hotel.

And with no other witnesses to the attack, specific details of Leonard Delorme’s death will likely remain a mystery.

Kerr, 45, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Monday after the Crown agreed to drop a more serious charge of second-degree murder based on his severe intoxication at the time. Delorme, 45, bled to death on the fifth-floor fire escape of the Garrick Hotel in March 2008.

"Nobody will ever really know what precipitated this," defence lawyer Mike Cook told court. "(Kerr) wishes he could remember more."

The Crown is seeking 10 years in prison for Kerr, in addition to two-and-a-half years of time already spent in custody. Cook and co-counsel Pam Smith have asked for just four more years behind bars.

Queen’s Bench Justice Joan McKelvey has reserved her decision until Thursday afternoon.

Kerr was living inside the Garrick at the time of the attack, while Delorme was apparently just there for the night to drink, court was told. It’s unknown how the two men came together or the exact circumstances leading up to the stabbing.

Several tenants report hearing an argument in the early morning hours. A hotel employee saw Kerr stumbling down a hallway a short time later, clearly drunk and having soiled himself.

"I can’t think of a better indicator of how intoxicated a person is than that," said Cook.

Kerr was seen later that morning throwing a bag from the fire escape. Police later recovered it, finding the knife and a blood-soaked piece of carpet which had been removed from Kerr’s suite. The forensic evidence was the only link between him and Delorme’s death, court was told.

"Leonard was a survivor. He was a big hearted, caring and forgiving person," his longtime friend, Susan Fraser, said Monday in reading a victim impact statement. She said the details of Delorme’s death continue to haunt loved ones.

"I would like to be able to say he died peacefully, surrounded by family and friends...One can’t imagine the fear and suffering he experienced that night at the cold hand of another," said Fraser.

www.mikeoncrime

 

 

 

 

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