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Crown wants 12 years for golf-club homicide

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The Crown is seeking a 12-year prison term for a Winnipeg man who beat his boyfriend to death with a golf club.

Michael Pearce, 43, was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year following a jury trial. He returned to court Tuesday for sentencing. He is seeking a penalty of four years behind bars.

Stuart Mark, 36, was found bludgeoned to death inside his Alfred Avenue home in January 2007. The case against Pearce was largely based on a confession he made to police, which jurors had to decide whether to believe.

Pearce went to police in July 2007 and took responsibility for the death. He claimed the killing took place after he became upset when Mark revealed he was HIV positive. But Pearce later claimed police had "coaxed" him into making a bogus confession. He told jurors he attempted suicide and overdosed on 14 Tylenol No. 3s just prior to giving his statement to police, which was the key piece of evidence against him. There were no forensic or eyewitness links to the slaying.

Jurors also heard during the trial Pearce volunteered to take a polygraph test five days before he confessed to killing Mark. In the test, Pearce denied any involvement in the slaying and was deemed by police to have been telling the truth.

Crown attorney Melinda Murray told jurors Pearce hit Mark in the head with a golf club, then stabbed him in the stomach, causing puncture wounds to his liver and lungs.

"The argument was as a result of Stuart Mark revealing to him for the first time that he was HIV positive," Murray said. "(Pearce) admits to being very angry at Stuart Mark.

The homicide went unsolved for several months and resulted in Winnipeg police making a public plea for information. Pearce was interviewed on several occasions and eventually gave the videotaped confession, which jurors were shown during the trial.

www.mikeoncrime.com

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