Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Boyfriend admits to killing, says he was 'different guy'

After slaying, child left alone with mother's body

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A Winnipeg man has admitted to stabbing his girlfriend to death -- then leaving the woman's special-needs child alone with her body for hours inside their downtown apartment block.

Police were finally called about the March 2012 incident when other residents of the Edmonton Street complex spotted the five-year-old boy with blood on his face while roaming the halls wearing only a diaper.

Belinda McKay, 38, was found dead inside her suite. She was stabbed numerous times in the heart, liver and other vital organs.

Lenny Keam, 30, pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder. He was given an automatic life sentence, and Crown and defence lawyers made a joint recommendation for parole eligibility to be raised to 13 years. The mandatory minimum is 10 years.

Keam apologized for his actions to the victim's family in court, blaming the attack on a three-day crack-cocaine binge.

"It wasn't me. It was a different guy," Keam said. "I know you guys hate me. I know you want to hurt me. I'm really sorry. Deep down, I'm really a nice guy."

Keam is no stranger to the justice system. He's got numerous prior convictions for acts of violence and was out on bail at the time of the killing for attacking a different woman.

Crown attorney Debbie Buors told court there's no evidence the victim's son witnessed the killing. But he saw the aftermath.

"He was locked in the residence with his mother's body for some time," she said.

By then, Keam had fled the suite with McKay's bank card. Police say he then met up with another woman and convinced her to pass herself off as McKay when going to a city bank and requesting the PIN number so he could withdraw money.

He told the woman "I just killed someone" before adding "just joking." Police arrested him four days later.

McKay had recently come into a small inheritance from family, which the Crown said played a role in the slaying. Keam was constantly fighting with her about money, attempting to get more out of her.

Medical evidence shows McKay tried to defend herself. Her body was found on top of her bathroom door, which had been broken in half by Keam. The Crown believes she had tried to hide from him.

"She was fighting for her life at the time the incident occurred," said Buors. McKay also had numerous defensive stab wounds on her arms, court was told.

Keam told court Tuesday it was McKay who pressured him into doing drugs.

"I wanted to stop smoking crack but she kept going. It was just non-stop," he said. Keam told the victim's family how he ensured her son was OK during the binge.

"I'd go watch the boy, make him a bottle, walk him around the apartment building for a bit. I told her so many times to stop, but she wouldn't listen," he said.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition August 20, 2014 B2


Updated on Wednesday, August 20, 2014 at 9:35 AM CDT: Changes photo

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