Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Hefty terms sought in prison death

Gangsters attacked one of their own

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JUSTICE officials want double-digit sentences for three high-ranking Winnipeg gang members for their roles in a deadly gang beating at Stony Mountain Institution.

Victor Ryle, Alvin Cote and Charles Coaster were found guilty of manslaughter following a two-week jury trial earlier this year. A fourth accused, Evan Myran, was acquitted.

A sentencing hearing that began Monday, Crown attorney Brian Bell requested a 10-year penalty for Ryle, and 15 years each for Cote and Coaster.

David Tavares, 40, died of massive trauma after being jumped by several other prisoners in March 2005. Ryle was accused of ordering the attack and pleaded not guilty to manslaughter at the start of the trial. Cote, Coaster and Myran were accused of carrying out the fatal beating and were charged with second-degree murder.

Jurors concluded Tavares's death was not intended, by convicting Cote and Coaster of the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Bell told jurors in closing arguments the evidence was clear, thanks to testimony from two key witnesses who gave a detailed description of the deadly attack. The bulk of their evidence included specific details about Ryle, Cote and Coaster, but very little about Myran. But defence lawyers told jurors not to believe the testimony of two convicted felons, suggesting they downplayed their roles to avoid prosecution.

The Crown suggested members of a Winnipeg street gang went too far with a "disciplinary hearing" that turned deadly. Tavares was jumped while in a prison recreation room. He was punched and fell to the floor near some pool tables, where he was repeatedly kicked in the head. The attackers dragged him to a washroom. The unconscious Tavares was found after the rec centre was closed for the day.

Tavares was in prison for driving-related offences. Jurors heard he became a member of the Native Syndicate while in prison but his conduct, which included complaining about several people owing him money, angered fellow gang members.

They decided to discipline Tavares by beating him.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition November 27, 2012 A7

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