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Courts Roundup

Posted: 11/20/2012 1:00 AM | Comments: 0

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Winnipegger gets life for murder

A Winnipeg man has been sentenced for his role in the murder-for-hire of former pro wrestler Ivan Radocaj.

Daniel Richard pleaded guilty to second-degree murder after admitting he was part of a plan to kill Radocaj, also known as the Croatian Giant. The 43-year-old victim was beaten to death in his Interlake home in September 2007.

Richard was given a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.

Four others have also been sentenced: Melody Sanford, the victim's wife, along with Donald Richard and his mother, Rita Cushnie, were convicted in 2011 of first-degree murder and given life sentences with no chance of parole for at least 25 years. They were also convicted of conspiracy to commit murder. Another accused, Christopher Houle, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2011 and was given life with no chance of parole for at least a decade.

Radocaj filed documents in August 2007 claiming Sanford "tricked" him into a fraudulent wedding weeks earlier because she was after his money, including a $49,000 Manitoba Public Insurance settlement relating to a car crash in which he broke his neck. He also claimed Sanford vowed to send Winnipeg gang members after him following their bitter breakup.

Drunk driver's pal won't recover

DANIEL Dupuis has already seen first-hand the dangers of drinking and driving.

Now the Winnipeg man, whose friend is permanently brain-damaged after the horrific crash, is headed to prison.

Dupuis, 41, was sentenced Monday to 30 months behind bars for the April 2009 tragedy. He was convicted earlier this year of impaired driving causing bodily harm.

The Crown was seeking four years in prison. Dupuis had asked for two years.

"If I could change places with David... I will always have a guilty conscience for what happened to David," an emotional Dupuis told court during sentencing submissions earlier this month.

The 48-year-old victim, David Catellier, suffered catastrophic injuries when the car Dupuis was driving hit a patch of ice and slammed into a sign on St. Anne's Road in the early morning of April 4, 2009.

"I thank God I'm alive," the victim wrote in a statement the Crown read aloud in court. He is now under 24-hour daily care at a personal-care home and will never make a full recovery.

The victim and Dupuis had spent the previous evening sandbagging, then went to a mutual friend's home where they consumed several drinks before heading home. Dupuis had a blood-alcohol reading of nearly three times the legal limit at the time of the crash. He was also travelling 100 km/h in a 60 km/h zone, court was told.

-- Mike McIntyre

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 20, 2012 B2

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