Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Attempted murder charges in separate stabbings

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Winnipeg police have laid attempted murder charges in two separate stabbings at North End homes over the last two days.

The first happened on Valentine's Day evening, when police say an intoxicated teenager and a young man were each assaulted during a party in the 700 block of Magnus Avenue.

The 15-year-old victim was physically assaulted first, after which the 19-year-old victim was stabbed seriously in the upper body after the attacker grabbed a knife, police said Sunday.

The stabbed man was rushed to hospital in critical condition and remains there in guarded condition, said Const. Jason Michalyshen.

A suspect was arrested following a short foot chase around 2:55 a.m. Feb. 15 near Arlington Street and Magnus, said police.

Jonathan Catcheway, 25, faces attempted murder and assault causing bodily harm allegations, said Michalyshen. He's being held at the Winnipeg Remand Centre. He was pending trial on a drug-related charge at the time of his arrest, said police.

Mere hours after Catcheway was caught, general patrol officers rushed to a home in the 600 block of Pritchard Avenue where two women, 22 and 20, had been arguing.

When the older woman tried to leave she was stopped by the younger, beaten and stabbed, police learned upon arrival. The victim managed to get away and was in hospital in stable condition on Sunday, said Michalyshen.

Layla Sinclair, 20, is accused of attempted murder, forceable confinement, possession of a weapon and breaching bail conditions.

Sinclair and the victim appear to have been friends, said Michalyshen. He didn't have specifics on what started the dispute.

Crown prosecutors were consulted prior to the laying of the attempted murder charges in each of the cases, he said.

Crime data recently released by police showed that attempted murders are one of the only rising violent crime categories in Winnipeg of late.

Michalyshen said police and prosecutors look closely at the circumstances of the offence and the type of injuries before electing to charge attempted murder, a very difficult charge to prove in court, as it requires proof beyond a reasonable doubt of intent to murder someone.

"What might have been said by the suspect or accused in relation to the assault itself" also plays a role when justice officials elect to lay the charge.

The offence carries with it a maximum sentence of life in prison. A mandatory minimum punishment of five years behind bars is imposed for a first offence if a gun was used in a proven attempted murder case.

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