Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Sentencing delayed for man convicted of snowbank killing

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Sentencing has been delayed for a Winnipeg man who assaulted his victim – and then left him to freeze to death in a snowbank.

Jamie Morrisseau, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for his role in the January 2011 death of 48-year-old Zenon Bozynski. He appeared in court Wednesday expecting to learn his fate.

But the hearing never got started. Defence lawyer Todd Bourcier requested a brief adjournment, telling court his client just got arrested Tuesday night and is now being held in custody. Morrisseau was previously free on bail, but court documents show he is accused of a domestic-related assault that happened on the eve of his sentencing.

Bourcier told court he needs a few days to get the particulars of the new incident to see how it might impact his sentencing request. The hearing is now scheduled for next Monday.

The Crown is expected to ask for a six-year sentence, while Morrisseau was going to request just two years behind bars. He plans to cite a report about his aboriginal upbringing to determine whether he should be entitled to a reduced sentence.

Crown attorney Deann Sahulka told court that Bozynski was drunk and unable to find his keys for his apartment suite when he began knocking on the door of a nearby Redwood Avenue rooming house just after 3 a.m.

The resident, a young woman, became frightened and called police to say she believed someone was trying to break in. She also texted her brother, Morrisseau, who arrived on scene. Morrisseau admits assaulting Bozynski and leaving him on the ground in the -32 C weather with no jacket.

Police never responded to the woman's original call. Police told the Free Press the woman had called back an hour later, cancelling her request.

Police were eventually dispatched at 9 a.m. -- but only because a resident reported finding Bozynski's body, court was told. An autopsy revealed he had died of hypothermia.

Morrisseau was originally charged with second-degree murder, but the Crown agreed to reduce the charge in exchange for a guilty plea.

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