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High court rejects appeals from 2 convicted killers

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It took them 15 months to decide, but Manitoba’s highest court has rejected appeals from two convicted killers.

Carlos Tavares and Norris Ponce claimed they were wrongfully convicted of a deadly 2006 attack outside a downtown Winnipeg bar. They argued before the Court of Appeal in June 2011, then had to wait until Thursday morning to learn their bid was denied.

Tavares, 32, received five years in prison in addition to one year of time already spent in custody. Ponce, 32, was given two years in jail, in addition to one year of time served. Both men were convicted of manslaughter.

A third accused, Glen Monkman, was given a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 12 years after being found guilty of second-degree murder.

All three men were originally charged with first-degree murder.

Ming Hong Huynh, 24, was knifed outside Club Desire on Bannatyne Avenue in April 2006.

Monkman admitted stabbing Huynh four times in the chest and cheek with a small knife while horrified bystanders watched -- but claimed he should only be found guilty of manslaughter based on the fact he was provoked.

Ponce was accused of distracting Huynh on the street before the stabbing. Tavares was accused of driving the getaway vehicle. Lawyers for both had argued there was no credible evidence linking them to the attack.

The key issue at trial was whether the jury believed the testimony of the Crown's star witness, Danny Simao, who claims he overheard a plan to kill Huynh while inside a car with the three accused. Defence lawyers argued at trial that Simao was a proven liar.

The Crown argued the accused planned the attack as revenge for another stabbing that happened at a wedding social in March 2006.

Before the attack, court heard Huynh was wandering around shirtless outside the club. His girlfriend, Angie Pfeifer, testified Huynh used steroids and cocaine. The Red River College business administration student was intoxicated and looking to fight anyone who crossed his path, she said.

www.mikeoncrime.com

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