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Judge reserves decision on gang slaying

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A Manitoba judge needs more time to decide whether to dish out rare life sentences to a pair of gang members involved in a deadly attack on a teen boy.

Warner Flett, 26, and Michael Guimond, 35, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for their roles in the September 2012 killing of 16-year-old Paris Bruce.

The Crown is seeking the maximum penalty of life in prison, saying this was as close to murder as it gets. But that isn’t sitting well with defence lawyers for the two accused, who returned to court today to finish up their submissions.

Flett is asking for between six and seven years of prison, while Guimond requested just five years behind bars.

"A life sentence is not only unprecedented, but it’s unwarranted," defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk told court. In fact, there are examples of life sentences being given for manslaughter, although they are rare.

Sawchuk said some blame has to be placed on the victim and his friends, who stormed into a Redwood Avenue home where the killers were in an ill-fated attempt to try and wrestle control of it.

"The degree of threat facing these people in the home was unknown, but very real," he said.

Provincial court Judge Brian Corrin has reserved his decision until later this fall.

Flett and Guimond are members of the Indian Posse street gang, and they have pleaded guilty to participating in a criminal organization as the killing was done to "further the interests" of the gang.

Court previously heard how Bruce was chased, knocked down and brutally beaten by several IP members. He suffered 29 external injuries including nine areas of brain trauma, court was told.

Bruce fell victim to a plot hatched by a rival MOB (Most Organized Brothers) Squad gang leader who wanted to take over the IP-controlled crack house. On his third trip to the home, Bruce was confronted by Guimond at the door. Bruce and another teen tossed bits of wood and a brick at him, causing an injury.

Between five and seven IP members -- including Flett and Guimond -- chased after Bruce, catching up with him in a nearby back lane. Guimond admits to striking Bruce a few times, while Flett admits kicking him, including once in the head.

Four other IP members charged in Bruce’s killing walked free after the Crown came to a plea arrangement with Flett and Guimond on specific facts of their involvement.

www.mikeoncrime.com

- with files from James Turner

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