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Appeal to be broadcast

The appeal of a man convicted of murdering his parents and brother is set to become the second hearing broadcast on camera from Manitoba's law courts.

This morning, the Manitoba Court of Appeal will hear Denis Jérome Labossière's appeal of his first-degree murder convictions for the 2005 slayings of his family.

The Free Press will be live-streaming the appeal at winnipegfreepress.com. It gets underway at 9:30 a.m.

A jury found Labossière guilty in February 2012 of three counts of first-degree murder in the slayings of his parents and brother in 2005.

The bodies of Fernand Labossière, 78, his wife Rita, 74, and the couple's son, Rémi, 44, were found in their burned-out farmhouse in St. Leon.

Labossière was convicted of hiring a man to kill his family members. Court was told the three were shot and killed in their home before gasoline was poured in their farmhouse and lit, burning their bodies beyond recognition.

Relatives testified Labossière was angry with his brother for getting the farm instead of him and, in his mind, not managing it properly while frittering away his money on gambling. The family farm, worth $1.3 million, was $500,000 in debt at the time.

Jurors only had two options when deciding the case: convict on first-degree murder or acquit.

While Labossière was convicted, co-accused Michel Hince walked free.

Jeremie Toupin pleaded guilty to three counts of second-degree murder prior to Labossière's trial and testified for the Crown.

Labossière launched an appeal soon after his convictions were entered, claiming the trial judge made mistakes.

Today's hearing is being broadcast as part of a cameras-in-court pilot project recently announced by the three levels of court in the province.

The hope is it will bolster public confidence in the court system by providing greater access to justice.

No witness testimony will be presented at the hearing.

Earlier this month, a camera was allowed into the Court of Queen's Bench to broadcast Associate Chief Justice Shane Perlmutter's decision in a murder trial.

 

Teen in crime spree freed

A young city man who embarked on a vandalism spree, only to be caught with guns and homemade bombs, won't serve any more jail time.

Dillon Lockhart, 18, was to walk free from jail Tuesday evening after a judge found his 61/2 months of lost freedom was enough punishment for a crime spree he took part in last fall that saw car windows shot out, transit shelters smashed and a crude bomb set off in a trash container.

"I have no doubt that Mr. Lockhart has the potential to be a law-abiding, productive member of society," provincial court Judge Judith Elliott said, calling his crimes "senseless."

Elliott granted Lockhart extra credit for the time he's spent in remand, meaning his sentence on paper is just shy of 10 months.

She placed him on probation for 18 months and ordered him to pay nearly $5,000 in restitution.

-- James Turner

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 30, 2014 B2

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