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Accused killer tries to plead guilty again

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It appears that the third time will be the charm for a man who wants to plead guilty to a notorious cold-case Winnipeg homicide.

Traigo Andretti, 38, is expected to resolve his case when he returns to court on Sept. 10.

Andretti appeared before a judge Monday and tried to admit responsibility on a charge of second-degree murder. The same scene played out back on June 23 when Andretti made his first court appearance.

In both instances, his bid was rejected on two grounds: First, he was appearing in provincial court, which can’t accept guilty pleas in murder cases. His matter must first be transferred to Court of Queen’s Bench. Secondly, Andretti is insisting on acting as his own lawyer, which has given judges some cause for concern.

Andretti confirmed Monday he will continue to represent himself.

Andretti is charged with killing Myrna Letandre in September 2006, then burying her body inside a Point Douglas rooming house. The remains weren’t discovered until May 2013 and Andretti wasn’t arrested until early last month following a lengthy investigation by Project Devote members from the RCMP and the Winnipeg Police Service.

Letandre was 37 when she vanished without a trace. Her name was added to the list of 28 missing and murdered Manitoba women being investigated by Project Devote in 2009.

Police got a major break in the case after Andretti — a former Winnipeg resident — was arrested in British Columbia in May 2013 and accused of killing and dismembering his wife, Jennifer McPherson, on a West Coast island only days earlier.

While questioning Andretti about that homicide, B.C. investigators received information about the Letandre case that was forwarded to their Manitoba colleagues. That triggered an extensive search of a Lorne Avenue home in Point Douglas, where Letandre’s remains were discovered.

Andretti pleaded guilty in April to first-degree murder in McPherson’s death. He acted as his own lawyer in that case and was given an automatic life sentence with no chance of parole for 25 years.

Project Devote investigators then moved in to complete their investigation of Letandre’s death. Andretti was arrested in a B.C. prison and transferred to Manitoba earlier last month to deal with the charge.

Police say Andretti, who also goes by the name Dylan Harold Grubb, had contact with Letandre while they were living in Winnipeg. One source described it as an informal relationship.

RCMP previously stated they believe Letandre may have briefly lived at the Lorne Avenue home where her remains were found, although they wouldn’t disclose whether it was with Andretti.

Andretti, who has a form of autism, had previously raised concerns to police and justice officials because he often failed to take his prescription medication. However, no request has been made for any type of psychiatric assessment, despite some unusual behaviour which includes smiling and laughing Monday when he attempted to plead guilty.

Andretti and McPherson lived at the Lorne Avenue home where Letandre was found before moving west more than five years ago. Family members of McPherson say she met Andretti through a dating website shortly before leaving Manitoba.

Police discovered McPherson’s remains scattered on a remote island near Alert Bay, off the east coast of Vancouver Island, last spring. The couple had been living on Hanson Island as caretakers of a remote fishing resort called the Pacific Outback Resort.

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