Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Troubled man facing murder charges after deadly assault

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A man who suffers from major cognitive and substance abuse problem faces a murder charge following the death of a suspected assault victim.

Patrick Jeremy Hill, 25, is accused of second-degree murder in connection with the death of Stacy Ralph Barkman, 39.

Barkman was assaulted last Thursday during an evening party in a suite in the 100 block of Mayfair Avenue, police said today.

He didn't know his attacker, who fled the scene before police got there.

Barkman was rushed to hospital in critical condition having suffered serious injuries to his upper body, police said.Police say he died late Saturday or early Sunday.

Hill was arrested in connection with the attack and initially charged with aggravated assault.

Hill's charges were upgraded Monday. He was rearrested in custody, court records show.

Barkman's death marks the 24th homicide in Winnipeg this year.

At the time of the incident, Hill was bound by a supervised probation order that wasn't set to expire until November 2014.

Hill, who hails from Gods Lake Narrows First Nation, has a lengthy criminal history which includes an assault with a weapon conviction from last year.

He was last sentenced Aug. 27, when he admitted to threatening two police cadets and two uniformed patrol officers with death after they encountered him while intoxicated at Portage Avenue and Donald Street on the afternoon of May 20.

He was wanted on a warrant at the time for failing to report to his probation officer.

The ugly death threats he hurled at the peace officers were "unprovoked," Judge Ray Wyant heard.

Hill, the father to a young son, likely suffers from undiagnosed Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder and it was learned in summer 2012 he was having "auditory hallucinations" which suggested he was schizophrenic, Wyant heard.

He was being treated with medication for the condition, court heard.

In recent years, he's turned to "self-medicating with street drugs," defence lawyer Kathy Bueti said. He's attended residential treatment in the past but bailed out of it after a few days because he couldn't see his family, Bueti said.

Hill has been designated a vulnerable person and qualified for provincial funding meant to assist him with his various issues.

"He feels pressure — he's a follower," said Bueti.

"I hope to do better in life," Hill said, indicating his plan was to get out of Winnipeg and get away from alcohol.

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