Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Vigilante slain by own machete

Accused sex offender charged with murder

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A Winnipeg man may have been trying to carry out vigilante justice against an accused sex offender when he was disarmed and killed with his own weapon, the Free Press has learned.

Phillepp Rick George Amos, 25, was beaten and stabbed to death Friday outside a North End apartment block. On Monday, police announced 26-year-old Damian Geoffrey Fontaine had been charged with second-degree murder.

Police sources revealed new details about the unique circumstances allegedly behind the city's 19th homicide of the year.

Amos had apparently armed himself with a machete when he went to the courtyard of the complex at Robinson Street and Flora Avenue just after 4 a.m.

"He went looking for a skinner," a veteran officer with the Winnipeg Police Service said Monday. A "skinner" is the slang term used for sex offender. "He had knowledge an (alleged) skinner was there and wanted to vigilante him." However, Amos was overpowered and ended up being attacked with the machete. He was rushed to hospital but could not be saved.

Fontaine had been living in the area while out on bail for allegedly raping a female acquaintance. He was charged in 2009 with aggravated sexual assault. The case remains before the courts.

Court documents show Fontaine is accused of confining the woman, choking and sexually assaulting her. He was also out on probation at the time of that alleged incident for previous convictions, including causing a disturbance and possessing stolen property.

The charge of aggravated sexual assault -- which means the accused allegedly wounded, maimed, disfigured or endangered the life of the victim -- is the most serious sexual offence in the Criminal Code, and carries a maximum sentence of life in prison.

"My brother didn't like abuse against women. He always stood up for people who couldn't defend themselves," Grace Amos said Monday.

She doesn't believe there was any history between Amos and the man accused of killing him. But she said he may have learned about Fontaine from friends and associates in the neighbourhood, then decided to confront the man.

"I'm at a loss for words right now. He's gone and he's not coming back," said Amos.

Fontaine is being held in custody. None of the allegations has been proven and he is presumed innocent.

Amos was out on bail at the time he was slain and was under a curfew. Amos was also wanted on a warrant after missing court last week.

He was charged in connection with the seizure of ammunition July 27.

The police stolen-auto unit considered Amos among their highest-risk offenders. He was being monitored by a community corrections worker and a probation officer.

Amos said she doesn't want her brother to be known for his criminal past. She said he endured a "rough life," which included foster placements.

"He is gone, his family is hurting," she said. "I grew up with him, I know what kind of person he was."

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 24, 2013 A7

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