December 8, 2013 Sections
Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION
GASTON Genaille set a stranger on fire because he wouldn't give him a cigarette -- then stood by munching on doughnuts as the victim slowly burned to death.
Disturbing new facts about the September 2010 attack that made headlines across the country were presented to a Winnipeg courtroom Wednesday.
Genaille, 22, was given a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years after pleading guilty to second-degree murder. Gerald Dumas, 47, suffered serious burns to much of his body after being doused in a flammable substance and set ablaze while walking in an alley behind 544 Selkirk Ave. He was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died 17 days later.
"His actions were shockingly evil," Crown attorney Mary Goska told court during Wednesday's sentencing hearing.
Genaille had been strolling through the North End when he came across Dumas and asked him for a cigarette, court was told. When Dumas didn't provide one, Genaille shoved him to the ground, rummaged through his pockets and found a bottle containing a flammable substance.
Genaille poured the liquid on Dumas's head and face, took out a lighter and ignited it. He stood by as his victim was consumed by flames, even popping into a nearby store to purchase doughnuts and then doubling back past Dumas when he was still on fire.
"He didn't do anything to try to put the flames out or to try to help Mr. Dumas in any way," said Goska. "In fact, he walked away, as one officer put it, 'cool as a cucumber.' "
Police arrived within five minutes and used a fire extinguisher on Dumas, but it was too late to save him from the massive burns and internal injuries he suffered.
Genaille admitted to the attack to several others that night and was promptly arrested. Video surveillance in the area captured much of it on tape, court was told.
Dumas was described by family and friends as a "gentle giant" who was randomly attacked after he went to buy beer.
Genaille was on probation at the time for a sexual assault conviction. He also comes from a troubled background that his lawyer presented to court.
In exchange for his guilty plea, which spared the need for a trial, the Crown agreed not to seek increased parole eligibility against Genaille. However, it will be up to the parole board to decide when, or if, he is ever released.
Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition January 10, 2013 A6