Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Gangster-arsonist gets 6 years

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A Winnipeg gang associate has been handed six years in prison for his role in setting a revenge-motivated fire that destroyed a West End apartment block, leaving dozens homeless and 19 people in hospital.

Cody Roulette, 22, learned his fate Monday after previously pleading guilty to arson and disregard for human life in connection with a Jan. 14, 2012, blaze at a Sherbrook Street apartment block that levelled the 14-suite building and caused $1 million in damages.

Those who suffered minor injuries included a firefighter and eight children.

"It was gang-related retaliation and payback," provincial court Judge Sid Lerner said Monday. Roulette showed "wild and reckless" indifference towards the innocent occupants of 577 Sherbrook St., the judge said.

Most of the tenants had no insurance and lost everything.

Roulette, an associate of the West Side Bloodz street gang, led the charge as he and fellow gang members ran to a basement suite at the block to avenge an earlier attack on a member by the rival Mad Cowz gang.

The Bloodz believed the suite was a Mad Cowz "crash pad," Lerner said. The attack took place at 7 a.m., when many occupants of the apartment block would be sleeping, said Lerner.

Roulette stuffed sheets into the apartment's oven and fled with the others as flames quickly engulfed the building.

Police caught up to the culprits after being tipped off to look for them at a nearby suite on Furby Street.

Lerner said he found the crime was committed to further the interests of the West Side Bloodz, a smaller group of several independent Bloodz factions in Winnipeg.

 

-- James Turner

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 17, 2013 A6

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