Two young killers are set to be released from prison next week — a move justice officials warn could lead to increased hostilities within Winnipeg’s gang scene.
The men, who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, previously admitted to the September 2009 killing of 17-year-old Frank Green Jr. His body was found at the St. Boniface Cemetery.
Both were given youth sentences of three years in jail followed by four years of community supervision, at a 2011 hearing.
Now 21 and 22, their custody is about to expire. They returned to court Monday for a judge to set conditions on their pending release.
Crown attorney Lisa Carson revealed both men appear unwilling to sever the gang ties that got them into trouble in the first place.
"More recently there has been significant involvement in gang activity (behind bars)," Carson said.
That prompted Queen’s Bench Justice Chris Martin to order that they both have no contact with any current or previous gang associates once they are released. Any breaches will have them automatically re-arrested and brought back into court.
"Fellas, you’re getting near the end of the road here. Don’t blow it," Martin warned them on Monday. He told the men that getting re-involved with gang activity is a sure-fire way to go back to prison.
"I hope you’ve learned a lesson. This is a vicious crime you’ve been involved with," said Martin.
Three other teens admitted to their roles in the killing but have not yet reached the end of their sentences. The five killers chased Green into the cemetery and attacked him with knives, a machete and a collapsible baton.
An autopsy showed eight of the nine stab wounds were in Green’s back. He also endured 41 blows from being kicked or punched. His killing was part of ongoing tension within rival Winnipeg gangs and led to numerous acts of violent retaliation, court was told.
Both killers have also been ordered to abstain from alcohol following their return to the community.
"I just want to get integrated into the community as a better person," one of the men said Monday.
"Everything that was given to us in jail we took advantage of. We tried to make the best of the situation," said the other.