Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Pregnant woman threatened with gun before fatal attack, court hears

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Her words came quietly, sometimes inaudible and often softened by apparent sorrow.

Despite her sadness, a young Winnipeg woman told a jury Tuesday a horror story of watching her dad being brutally beaten by young strangers when he tried to protect her from harm.

"The kids kept hitting him — hitting him with the bat in the face... kicking him on the side," the 21-year-old woman testified in the Court of Queen's Bench.

"They were always side by side," she said of how the suspects positioned themselves.

Although the woman herself was also assaulted, she suffered only relatively minor injuries.

Her father, Joseph Lalonde, 48, ultimately died in hospital of the savage beating he took in the yard of his Dufferin Avenue home on Aug. 24, 2011.

Two 15-year-old boys were arrested shortly after and are now on trial for second-degree murder.

The Crown's theory is they acted in concert in allegedly attacking Lalonde and are therefore equally culpable for his death.

The teens are suspected of riding their bikes to Lalonde's house to settle a gang-related beef with another teen.

When they got there, however, only Lalonde and his daughter — who was 21 weeks pregnant at the time — were outside the home.

Neither of them had any connection to gangs nor had ever seen the suspects before.

The woman said one of them ran over to her and pointed a firearm in her face, "asking me if I was IP (Indian Posse)."

Lalonde moved in to intervene. "'Leave her alone, she's pregnant,'" she said he yelled.

She was struck in the neck with a baseball bat after she pushed the gun's barrel aside, she said. "I fell to my knees."

The attackers pounced on Lalonde, the woman said. She said she ran to a window of her home and banged on it to summon help from those inside.

The suspect armed with the wooden bat stood over Lalonde, striking him repeatedly with the weapon while the other delivered kicks, she recalled.

She ran and tried to pull the bigger of the two suspects off, and was bashed in the head, she said.

A 911 call to police played in court came in at 11:12 p.m. In the gut-wrenching call, a young man begs for Winnipeg police to come.

"We need police," a young man is heard yelling into the phone. "Come on, please!" he later says.

Frantic screaming and yelling can be heard in the background.

The attackers fled, Lalonde's daughter testified.

"I heard one of them say, 'Let's go,'" she said.

Police arrived very soon after.

Prosecutors allege the teens stashed the blood-stained bat at a nearby home and changed their blood-spattered clothes and shoes.

Lalonde and his daughter were taken to hospital. He died five days later, having never regained consciousness.

A pathologist is expected to testify it was the cumulative effect of head injuries Lalonde suffered that caused his death, not one blow in particular.

The teens on trial are charged under the Youth Criminal Justice Act and cannot be identified.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

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