Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Killer charged in violent attack

On bail after admitting to manslaughter

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An admitted killer who was free on bail pending sentencing allegedly spent his final hours of freedom assaulting his girlfriend.

James Morrisseau, 28, was arrested Tuesday night for a violent attack on his partner. The incident happened on the eve of Wednesday's court appearance, where Morrisseau was expected to learn his fate on a manslaughter charge in which he left a beaten man to freeze to death in a snowbank.

Instead, defence lawyer Todd Bourcier told court he needs a few days to get the particulars of the new incident to see how it might impact his sentencing request. The sentencing has now been adjourned until next Monday.

The Crown was expected to ask for a six-year sentence, while Morrisseau was going to request just two years behind bars. He plans to cite a report about his aboriginal upbringing to determine whether he should be entitled to a reduced sentence.

"I imagine this has thrown sort of a wrench into what you would be asking for," Queen's Bench Justice Chris Martin said Wednesday. Bourcier agreed.

Morrisseau admitted to his role in the January 2011 death of 48-year-old Zenon Bozynski. Crown attorney Deann Sahulka told court that Bozynski was drunk and unable to find his keys for his apartment when he began knocking on the door of a nearby Redwood Avenue rooming house just after 3 a.m.

The resident, a young woman, became frightened and called police to say she believed someone was trying to break in. She also texted her brother, Morrisseau, who arrived on scene. Morrisseau admits assaulting Bozynski and leaving him in a snowbank in the -32 C weather with no jacket.

Police never responded to the woman's original call. Police told the Free Press the woman had called back an hour later, cancelling her request.

Police were eventually dispatched at 9 a.m. -- but only because a resident reported finding Bozynski's body, court was told. An autopsy revealed he had died of hypothermia.

Morrisseau was originally charged with second-degree murder, but the Crown agreed to reduce the charge in exchange for a guilty plea.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 22, 2012 B3

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