Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Man gets 8 years for beating friend to death

  • Print

A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to eight years in prison for beating his friend to death during a May long weekend drinking party at a downtown hotel.

Arnold Harper, 33, pleaded guilty to manslaughter Wednesday for last year’s killing inside the St. Regis Hotel. Leslie Okemow, 29, suffered extensive head trauma as a result of the attack.

"I am deeply sorry. He was a friend of mine. I don’t know how this happened," a tearful Harper told court.

Defence lawyer John Corona said the case is yet another example of the impact alcohol has on society. In this case, a large gathering of people from several remote First Nations was booked in Winnipeg and ended in death.

"I don’t think it’s a stretch to say but for the drinking this wouldn’t have happened," said Corona. "We’re here on yet another tragic alcohol-related death. Sometimes I just shake my head."

Crown attorney Tim Chudy said it’s unclear why an argument erupted between Harper and Okemow, as everyone in the hotel suite at the time was either passed out or too intoxicated to remember the details.

"The fight was one-sided. Mr. Harper absolutely got the better of it," said Chudy.

Okemow’s body was found the following morning by a female housekeeper who didn’t initially realize he was dead, court was told. Okemow was slumped in a chair, covered in blood. Harper and the others apparently continued partying in another area of the hotel, oblivious to the fact Okemow’s life was slipping away.

Both men involved in the case have tragic histories.

Harper grew up in a home "rife with alcoholism" and was both physically and sexually abused as a child in Red Sucker Lake, according to his lawyer. Harper bounced around more than a dozen different foster homes and is now the father of three young children himself.

Okemow’s family was also no stranger to death. He had moved to Winnipeg from Gods Lake Narrows only weeks earlier after his brother, George Okemow, was killed in a house fire on New Year's Day in 2010 that investigators ruled was arson.

Okemow was survived by three children in Gods Lake, located about 600 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.

 

www.mikeoncrime.com

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes

    No

  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Chief justices breakdown cameras in courtroom project

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A young gosling flaps his wings after taking a bath in the duck pond at St Vital Park Tuesday morning- - Day 21– June 12, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Young goslings are growing up quickly near Cresent Lake in Portage La Prairie, Manitoba- See Bryksa 30 Day goose project- Day 11- May 15, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

What are you most looking forward to this Easter weekend?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google