Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Conviction for supplying morphine that led to OD

  • Print

A Winnipeg man has been convicted of killing a young mother who overdosed after he gave her morphine pills.

Curtis Haas, 53, returned to court Wednesday to learn he was found guilty of manslaughter, drug trafficking and criminal negligence causing Wendy Henry's death.

His are the first-ever convictions in a so-called social trafficking homicide case in Manitoba.

Haas's unlawful trafficking of "street morphine" pills to Henry, 20, at his Dufferin Avenue apartment on Oct. 27, 2007, was directly tied to her death in hospital about two days later, Court of Queen's Bench Justice Gerald Chartier ruled.

Mr. Haas knew the drugs were dangerous," said Chartier. "... His actions contributed substantially to her death."

His providing Henry with up to 16 morphine tablets was something Haas should have known could kill her, the judge said.

An autopsy found Henry died of an overdose, and she had a startling 1,035 nanograms of morphine per millilitre of blood.

Henry and another woman who lived in the same apartment block as Haas both overdosed within 24 hours of each other. The other woman survived.

Chartier found Haas was aware the other woman went to hospital and didn't act to ensure Henry got help as well.

He'd also taken the morphine in the past and found it "worked too much," so he flushed his supply, said Chartier.

"Mr. Haas's conduct caused Ms. Henry's death," said Chartier.

Haas originally told police Henry wanted the morphine from him to "get high."

He later changed his story, claiming she needed it to deal with chronic pain. He also told a different version to a security guard in his building, claiming Henry had "gotten into" his stash.

Haas denied any wrongdoing. He called 911 and tried to revive Henry when he discovered she wasn't breathing. His lawyer argued Henry was responsible for her own demise because she willingly ingested the pills.

"Once a person has that in their hands, they have a choice of what they are going to do with it," Darren Sawchuk told Chartier in his closing argument in February 2013.

Sawchuk said there was no evidence Haas even knew how much morphine Henry consumed, and she may have snuck some of the pills from his stash without his knowledge.

After the convictions were pronounced, the Crown moved to revoke Haas's bail and see him taken into custody out of concern he's now a potential flight risk.

Haas has no criminal record, suffers with health issues and hasn't breached any of his conditions.

A revocation hearing will be held later this month.

An appeal is widely expected to be launched after Haas learns his sentence later this year. Crown attorney Libby Standil did not disclose Wednesday what punishment prosecutors will seek. She did say the case merits "fairly serious" prison time.

Henry lived with her father and two younger siblings. She filled her days caring for her two-year-old daughter, working with disabled children for the Winnipeg School Division and taking sign-language classes.

While the unusual case is the first in the province to garner convictions, others remain before the courts.

Donald Bustard, 53, faces manslaughter and drug-trafficking charges in connection with the death of Chantelle Halcro, 25, in July 2012.

Halcro died a drug-related death in her Brandon apartment, police said.

Police allege she'd been injected with the morphine-derivative painkiller hydromorphone.

Her family said it was not a drug she was known to take.

A source previously said there was no evidence to show Halcro didn't consent to the injection.

Bustard was arrested in 2013 following Crown consultation on the case.

He remains in custody with his next court appearance set for July 7.

 

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca -- with files from the Brandon Sun

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition May 8, 2014 B1

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

    No

  • 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

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on winnipegfreepress.com. You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.

letters

Make text: Larger | Smaller

LATEST VIDEO

Doug & Buck gear up for Grey Cup

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • Hay bales sit under a rainbow just west of Winnipeg Saturday, September 3, 2011.(John Woods/Winnipeg Free Press)
  • PHIL.HOSSACK@FREEPRESS.MB.CA 090728 / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS White Pelicans belly up to the sushi bar Tuesday afternoon at Lockport. One of North America's largest birds is a common sight along the Red RIver and on Lake Winnipeg. Here the fight each other for fish near the base of Red RIver's control structure, giving human fisher's downstream a run for their money.

View More Gallery Photos

Poll

Should Canada send heavy military equipment to Ukraine?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google