Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accused killer gets bail in shocker

Allegedly set up ex-girlfriend's slaying

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He's accused of the most serious charge in the Criminal Code after allegedly arranging the cold-blooded killing of his ex-girlfriend in a Winnipeg parking lot.

But Drake Moslenko's time in custody ended suddenly Tuesday when justice officials took the highly unusual step of consenting to his release on bail. He walked out of jail hours later with both mystery and controversy swirling around him.

Sources told the Free Press this is the first time in recent memory a person charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy walked out of jail with the blessing of the Crown. Several prosecutors and defence lawyers who spoke in the halls of the downtown courthouse expressed shock, saying they expected the Crown would at least put up a fight even if they figured they'd lose. And those hoping for a detailed explanation were left disappointed.

"In light of the bail plan that's been proffered, the Crown is satisfied at this point in time that the accused is entitled to reasonable bail," prosecutor Daniel Chaput told court in a brief statement.

A full day had been set aside for Moslenko to make his bail application, but the entire hearing was completed in less than 20 minutes when the Crown elected not to put Moslenko to the legal test of proving why he should be released.

Moslenko's father agreed to post a $100,000 surety and have his son live with him at his Transcona home. Moslenko, 27, will also be under a 24-hour curfew, with the exception of being allowed out of the home if in the company of his father. He is also prohibited from contacting more than two dozen witnesses and members of the victim's family.

"You're presumed to be innocent until you're proven guilty of the charge," said Queen's Bench Justice Diana Cameron. "The Crown attorney here today is an experienced Crown attorney. They've had an opportunity to carefully review the file. They know the evidence against you and the facts of the case better than I do. And they have agreed to consent to your release on the basis of having done a careful review of their file."

The decision may now move from the courtroom into the political theatre. Justice critic Kelvin Goertzen took to Twitter to express his frustration, saying the Crown should have at least argued public safety and the administration of justice would be brought "into disrepute" by agreeing to someone's release on such a serious allegation.

Moslenko is charged with first-degree murder for allegedly paying a man to stab Kaila Tran to death in a St. Vital parking lot on June 20. A co-accused, Treyvonne Willis, is also facing the same charge for allegedly committing the act and remains in custody. He has not yet applied for bail.

Tran, 27, died from the injuries she suffered after being attacked at about 7 a.m. while on her way to her vehicle, which was parked near her Clayton Drive apartment in St. Vital. The young woman's screams alerted neighbours, who witnessed the attack. Several ran out of their apartments in a bid to help Tran, and one chased her attacker on his bicycle until he disappeared near the Seine River.

Police said Moslenko and Tran had been a couple for four years but split up recently. Moslenko was at the scene following the attack on Tran, sobbing and holding her hand as she lay on the ground bleeding.

Police claim a witness came forward to allege Moslenko approached Willis and offered to pay him cash if he agreed to kill Tran.

Moslenko is a former amateur baseball star and rap artist who was involved in nightclub security. He pleaded guilty in 2010 to his involvement in a robbery at the Travelodge on Alpine Avenue, where he also worked. Court records show he helped engineer the plan in which another employee turned over more than $5,600 in cash from the hotel bar to another co-accused but claimed she'd been robbed. He was given a three-month conditional sentence and probation.

Court was told Moslenko came from a tight-knit family, had graduated from Glenlawn Collegiate and had attended Minot State University.

Willis had no prior convictions but faced drug-related and breach-of-bail charges when it's alleged he killed Tran. Willis was charged Feb. 14 in The Pas with possession of cocaine for the purpose of trafficking, and was released on bail. He was charged April 4 with breaching bail conditions by failing to report to his bail supervisor, and again released on bail. He was charged a third time June 12, with several more breaches of bail conditions and four Highway Traffic Act offences. Again, he was released on bail.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 29, 2012 A4

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