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Not-guilty plea in death of teen in gang-related fight

A Winnipeg man has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder for the street-fight stabbing of a teenager following a gang-related confrontation in the North End.

Steven Johnston, 20, is presumed innocent of killing Clark (Clarky) Stevenson, 15, during an altercation near Boyd Avenue and Aikins Street on Sept 10, 2011.

A jury of eight men and four women began hearing evidence Tuesday.

Johnston attacked Stevenson after Stevenson confronted a group of his friends on a darkened street shouting "IP" (Indian Posse street gang) and asking "if they want to get shot," prosecutor Jeffrey Nichols alleged in his opening address.

A key Crown eyewitness is a now-21-year-old man who knew Johnston at the time and who was present during the altercation.

He testified he saw Johnston appear and run up behind Stevenson while the teen postured in the street and had lifted his shirt to suggest he had a gun. Johnston punched him in the side of the head, making Stevenson angry, he told court.

The two then grappled towards the sidewalk, with Johnston putting Stevenson in a headlock and delivering what appeared to be a series of uppercuts to the victim, the witness said. Those blows appeared to land in the chest area.

Stevenson then knocked Johnston against a fence, winding him, jurors heard. A co-accused youth then entered the fray and stabbed Stevenson

"I did see a knife in (the youth's) hand," the witness said. "I saw him swing once." He never saw Johnston with anything in his hands, he testified.

Ultimately, Stevenson rode away on his bicycle and collapsed soon after.

The teen was rushed to hospital for emergency surgery, but blood loss from a number of stab wounds he suffered led to brain death, pathologist Dr. Charles Littman testified.

"The stab wound to the chest would certainly be lethal," Littman said.


Accused killer pleads guilty just before case goes to jury

A Winnipeg homicide trial collapsed moments before the jury began hearing evidence Monday.

Abraham Marcel Lagimodiere, 27, elected to plead guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of Marlin Gray, 36, on June 16, 2012.

The move came just hours after his legal team delivered an opening statement to jurors saying Lagimodiere freely admitted punching Gray a single time in the courtyard of a townhouse complex at 1391 Fife St., but that he acted in self-defence.

No explanation was offered to the court for the abrupt change in circumstances. Sentencing was put off until later this year.

Gray fell and hit his head on the concrete after being punched once by Lagimodiere, Crown prosecutors told jurors.

They planned to present a video of the event they said would prove Lagimodiere was responsible for Gray's death. Gray was rushed to hospital from the scene and died two days later.

Neither the Crown nor defence has said what sentence they will seek.

There is no mandatory minimum jail term for manslaughter, which carries with it a maximum penalty of life in prison.


-- James Turner

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 15, 2014 A7

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