Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Defence claims sadist a victim

Hostage-taking left family scarred

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Justice officials say he is a cunning, manipulative deviant who will likely resume his quest for criminal infamy if released from prison. But a Winnipeg man who committed a shocking suburban home invasion claims he is a victim because his desperate cry for help went unheeded.

The wildly different portraits are being painted at a three-day sentencing hearing expected to wrap up today.

The Crown is seeking a life sentence for the 20-year-old man, saying it's the only way to condemn his actions and protect society from future harm.

Defence lawyer Danny Gunn is asking for a fixed penitentiary term of an undisclosed length. That would mean the accused would be guaranteed his eventual freedom without any supervision.

On Wednesday, Gunn launched a scathing attack on the provincial medical system, saying officials ignored warning signs about his client.

He said the October 2010 ambush in North Kildonan could have been prevented.

"I become increasingly frustrated at the signs that were there and the steps that could have been taken," Gunn told provincial court Judge Rob Finlayson.

Although he was 18 at the time, the Free Press is not identifying the man in order to publish details about his involvement with the justice system when he was a youth. That involvement leads to questions about the type of supervision and treatment he received while free in the community and while being assessed.

The four victims -- a husband, wife, 17-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son -- suffered extensive physical and emotional trauma during the 90-minute attack. The accused selected them at random after following the daughter home on a city bus as part of his plan to rape, torture and possibly kill innocent people in an attempt "to become infamous," court was told.

"This scenario was worse than a parent's worst nightmare. This offence is unimaginable," Crown attorney Cindy Sholdice said Wednesday "The victims are already serving a life sentence of their own. They're living with gaping wounds."

Police seized hundreds of computer documents that included references to purchasing a torture kit and praise for well-known serial killers. Police also found images of raped and slain women from a reality website he frequented, stories he downloaded about incest and thousands of images of violent pornography.

The accused was first arrested in April 2010 while walking through the Exchange District carrying a knife and wearing a disguise.

In September 2010, he told doctors about following a young woman home from a life-skills class he was taking. He had written in his diary about wanting to kill her, but changed his mind after discovering she lived in an apartment and not a home.

The doctor contacted the crisis-stabilization unit and he was hospitalized Sept. 25 at Health Sciences Centre -- but released Sept. 29 when he showed improvement while medicated and claimed he'd made up several stories to seek attention.

"How can he go from homicidal to fine in five days?" Gunn asked Wednesday in court.

The judge agreed, questioning whether police should have been consulted. But the Crown suggested the invader is ultimately to blame, as he's had a supportive network of family and doctors willing to help him, which he's ignored.

He attacked the family on Oct. 16, forcing his way inside their home while carrying a gun and knife.

He made the woman tie up her children and husband with duct tape. He assaulted, terrorized, degraded and sexually tortured them until the father and son finally broke free, overpowered him and held him for police.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 20, 2012 B4

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