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Dangerous offender status sought for convicted rapist

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Justice officials are seeking a dangerous offender designation for a Winnipeg man who went on a sexually motivated rampage that involved four separate attacks -- including the rape of an eight-year-old boy.

After a lengthy Court of Queen's Bench trial that included 65 witnesses, Peter Lloyd Roger Laporte, 36, was found guilty earlier this year of eight criminal charges. He returned to court Tuesday, where a forensic report was ordered by the court to study every aspect of his life. Laporte remains in custody, with the sentencing hearing expected to resume next year.

Given the severity of his crimes, the Crown announced Tuesday they want Laporte branded a dangerous offender and sentenced to an indefinite period of custody with no guarantee of ever being released. They say he remains an extreme risk to public safety.

Laporte's first crime in this case was a sexual assault on a 38-year-old woman at about 4 p.m. Dec. 15, 2007. He jumped her inside a Cumberland Avenue apartment block, claiming he had a knife and would stab her. Laporte took the woman into a stairwell, removed her clothing and raped and beat her before fleeing.

He was arrested the next month but was released from custody on Nov. 10, 2008, when the Crown stayed the charges because of problems with the case, including identification of him as the culprit. The charges were revived weeks later when Laporte struck again in three more attacks. But the victim of the 2007 attack was unable to testify because she is currently in a coma after a traffic accident.

On Nov. 23, 2008, Laporte followed a child into an apartment block on Balmoral Street, taking him into a stairwell and violently sexually assaulting him. The boy escaped and ran for help after someone came into the stairwell. The boy was taken to hospital and treated for serious injuries.

The attack was partially captured on surveillance tape. Laporte's mother identified him as the adult in the video, despite Laporte denying any involvement at trial. There was also DNA evidence against him. The victim, now 12, continues to suffer deep emotional scars, including suicidal thoughts, and "hates who he is," court was told.

About 6:45 p.m. the same day, Laporte went to a Cumberland Avenue apartment block and cornered a 23-year-old woman who was holding her two-year-old child in an elevator. He held a knife against her body and tried to pull the two victims into a stairwell once they exited. Another tenant interrupted the incident. Again there was video surveillance and Laporte was identified as the attacker.

The final incident happened around 9:30 p.m. that day when he attacked a 48-year-old woman who was walking to work from her Agnes Street home. Laporte offered her some alcohol and she went with him to a nearby residence on Furby Street, where he began attacking her and eventually forced sexual intercourse on her. A caretaker heard the woman's screams and rushed to help, but Laporte attacked him. The caretaker eventually overpowered Laporte, smashed his head on the ground and sat on him until police arrived. Laporte lashed out at the arresting officers, kicking and punching them while screaming he had HIV and was going to infect them.


Teen gets adult life sentence for deadly robbery spree

A Winnipeg teen who went on a robbery spree that ended with the death of a stranger has been given an adult sentence of life in prison.

Manitoba Queen's Bench Justice Jeffrey Oliphant ruled last month the Youth Criminal Justice Act wasn't sufficient to protect the public from the man, who was 17 at the time of the deadly July 2009 attack.

The accused was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder and robbery following a month-long trial. He returned to court Tuesday for sentencing.

Under the YCJA, the young killer could only have received a maximum of four years behind bars. As an adult, he gets a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least seven years.

"In my view, societal interests, which include respect for the justice system, cannot be attended to by anything less than the imposition of an adult sentence," Oliphant wrote in his decision.

Joseph Hall, 24, died in his mother's arms on the same night police flooded his neighbourhood responding to a surge in violent crime.

Two others have already admitted to their roles in the killing. James McMahon, 22, and Randall Preston Bourassa, 22, both pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea bargain struck with justice officials. Both were given the equivalent of 10-year prison sentences.

Hall's killers were apparently out of beer when they decided to find innocent victims to rob while walking through the North End, court was told. Oliphant called the group "urban pirates on bicycles" who didn't care who they hurt or killed.

Their first target was robbed and stabbed but escaped with only minor injuries.

The next victim, Hall, suffered three stab wounds to the chest, one of which punctured his heart.


-- Mike McIntyre

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 7, 2012 B3

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