Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Accused said bathhouse should burn, his trial told

  • Print

A man accused of setting a blaze that killed two people at a Winnipeg bathhouse told a friend just before visiting it they should set the place on fire, prosecutors said Monday.

A jury trial for Justin Rosdobutko, 29, got underway in the Court of Queen's Bench. He's accused of two counts of manslaughter in the fire-related deaths of Steven Yablonski, 23, and Robert Gene Clark, 62, at the Aquarius Men's Bathhouse on Notre Dame Avenue on Oct. 11, 2009.

Rosdobutko has pleaded not guilty and is presumed innocent. He's accused of setting two separate fires in the building early that morning.

The Crown intends to call five witnesses in the case, Crown attorney Deann Sahulka told jurors in her opening statement.

"You have heard me say this matter will be brief. That is not to say it will be simple. The evidence will be detailed," she said.

In addition to police officers and an expert from the fire commissioner's office, a friend of Rosdobutko's may testify they were at the bathhouse together that morning, jurors were told.

Just prior to the fire, Rosdobutko told his friend "that they should burn the bathhouse down," Sahulka said. The fire was not set in the presence of the witness, she said.

DNA testing police did on a cigarette butt found in Room 27 contained a "mixed profile" of two people, jurors were told. Rosdobutko's DNA was not in the profile, but his friend's was.

Yablonski, a popular local entertainer, and Clark, who was from Saskatchewan, died of smoke inhalation.

Up to 40 others escaped the massive blaze.

The fire caused about $500,000 damage to the property at 457 Notre Dame Ave. The bathhouse owner, Somchai Pengpharsuks, lost another business to arson in 1999, the King and Alexander Steam Baths.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition February 11, 2014 A4

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


  • 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

Comments are not accepted on this story because they might prejudice a case before the courts.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


The art & the craft of building guitars: Jordan McConnell

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • A Canada goose protects her nest full of eggs Monday on campus at the University of Manitoba- Standup photo- Apr 30, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)
  • Marc Gallant / Winnipeg Free Press. Local- Weather standup. Sundog. Refraction of light through ice crystals which caused both the sun dog and and fog along McPhillips Road early Wednesday morning. 071205.

View More Gallery Photos


Do agree with the EPC's decision to release construction company Stuart Olson from its hotel-building obligation?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google