Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Man who killed HIV-positive lover asks for time done

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A Winnipeg man who beat his boyfriend to death with a golf club after learning the victim was HIV-positive says he should do no further jail time.

Michael Pearce, 43, was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year following a jury trial. He returned to court Tuesday for sentencing, where his lawyers argued he should be given a penalty of time already spent in custody.

The Crown is seeking a total of 12 years for what they called a horrific attack much closer to murder given the violence involved. Queen's Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg has reserved her decision until Sept. 5.

Pearce is free on bail under stringent conditions.

Stuart Mark, 36, was found bludgeoned to death inside his Alfred Avenue home in January 2007. He had been struck at least 58 times with the weapon, court was told.

"Stuart was very special... kind-hearted, trusting, generous, friendly and an optimist," his mother, Gemma Ring, told court Tuesday in a victim impact statement. "My son was taken from me much too soon and I miss him with all my heart."

The victim's sister, Sandra Mark, told court she continues to be haunted by the way her brother died.

"How horribly scared, confused and frightened he must have been, being attacked not knowing how to defend himself," she said.

The case against Pearce was largely based on a confession he made to police in July 2007. He claimed the killing took place after he became upset when Mark revealed he was HIV positive. But Pearce later claimed police had "coaxed" him into making a bogus confession. He told jurors he overdosed on 14 Tylenol No. 3 tablets just prior to giving his statement to police.

There were no forensic or eyewitness links to the slaying.

The homicide went unsolved for several months. Pearce was interviewed on several occasions and eventually gave the videotaped confession, which jurors were shown during the trial.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 4, 2012 B2

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