A Winnipeg man has been given a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years for killing a stranger by setting him on fire.
Gaston Leroy Genaille, 22, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the September 2010 attack that made headlines across the country.
Gerald Dumas, 47, suffered serious burns to much of his body after being doused in a flammable substance and set ablaze while walking in an alley behind 544 Selkirk Ave. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died 17 days later. Dumas was described by family and friends as a "gentle giant" who was randomly attacked after he went to buy beer.
"His actions were shockingly evil," Crown attorney Mary Goska told court during Wednesday’s sentencing hearing.
Genaille had been strolling through the North End when he came across Dumas and asked him for a cigarette, court was told. When Dumas didn’t provide one, Genaille shoved him to the ground, rummaged through his pockets and found a bottle containing a "flammable substance."
Genaille then poured the liquid on Dumas’ head and face, took out a lighter and ignited it. He then stood by as his victim was consumed by flames, even popping into the nearby Robin’s to purchase donuts and then doubling back while Dumas was still on fire.
"He didn’t do anything to try to put the flames out or to try to help Mr. Dumas in any way," said Goska. "In fact, he walked away, as one officer put it, cool as a cucumber."
Police arrived within five minutes and used a fire extinguisher on Dumas, but it was too late to save him from the massive burns and internal injuries he suffered.
Genaille admitted to the attack to several others and was promptly arrested. Video surveillance in the area captured much of it on film, court was told.
Genaille is no stranger to police and was on probation at the time for a sexual assault conviction. He also comes from a troubled background which his lawyer presented to court, saying he has "fallen through the cracks" like so many Aboriginal offenders in Manitoba.
In exchange for his guilty plea which spared the need for a trial, the Crown agreed not to seek increased parole eligibility against Genaille. However, it will be up to the parole board to decide when, or if, he is ever released.