Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION
What a week!
Where to begin?It's hard to believe how many major crime and justice stories came out of Winnipeg last week. I'd be hard-pressed to find a busier five-day stretch in my 13-year career. It felt like a month's worth of news happening all at once.Here's a quick synopsis of just the stories I was involved with, along with my own two cents (and links to the various stories in case they went by you in a blur!)1) Arrest made in Beverly Rowbotham murder case
- Finally, after nearly eight long years, the development everyone has been waiting for. Now the focus moves to the courts, where Mark Stobbe vows to fight to prove his innocence.2) Arrest made in Joel and Maggy Labossiere murder case
- It took Winnipeg police just a few weeks to nab a suspect in one of the most sadistic killings in recent city history. And the suspect, Kelly Clarke, is no stranger to police or myself, as I've previously covered his numerous court cases. The investigation continues and more arrests could be coming.3) Major developments in Adam Anhang murder case
- Some real twists and turns to this international mystery. We learned this week that a new suspect had emerged and confessed to killing the ex-Winnipeg millionaire in Puerto Rico - and also implicated Anhang's estranged wife. Now comes word of more potential arrests.4) Police sexually assaulted me, criminal claims
- A touchy story for sure, and the kind we don't often write about. We get calls on a frequent basis from people claiming the cops attacked them. The vast majority never see the light of day, because the people haven't filed an official Law Enforcement Review Agency complaint, won't allow their name and photo to be published, or refuse to disclose other key information. In the case of Leon Vermette, he met all of these criteria, and so we told his story - along with getting extensive police reaction through the Crown which disputed what he said. It was controversial, for sure. But also fair and balanced. And that's all we can do. We'll now follow it through to the end.5) Jury hung, mistrial declared in triplet killing
- For the second time, emotional jurors were unable to reach a verdict in the case against Michelle Camire. Now the Crown says they will pursue a third trial. Strong feelings on both sides of this one came in through phone calls and e-mails this week. Clearly the public is divided as the jurors.6) Former Hells president gets 13 years in prison
- The rise and fall of Ernie Dew was completed this week when he received a major jail sentence for selling drugs to his former friend turned police agent, Franco Atanasovic. It just shows that in the world of organized crime, you can't trust anyone.7) Convicted killer sneaks into Canada to meet Internet girlfriend
- Finally, something a little lighter. Had some fun with this exclusive, in which we told you of a American who followed his heart to Winnipeg - but ended up in prison. "Love makes you stupid," his lawyer told court. The man will be deported once his sentence is complete. One question - what's with the woman who fell for this guy?? I guess nice guys truly do finish last!8) Mom guilty of corrupting children
- A terrible story about a mother who disregarded the needs of her children and put them in a horrendous position inside an inner-city crackhouse where they were deprived of many things - including food - while being exposed to the worst of society.9) U of M wrestler acquitted
- Another real "talker" with a controversial ending. A judge ruled against a young woman who claimed, at the age of 15, that she was sexually assaulted by a much older peer while both were training in a university wrestling program. The case essentially led to the collapse of the program and has clearly left a bitter taste in many mouths.10) Judge decries street violence in Winnipeg
- Associate Chief Justice Jeffrey Oliphant, always a straight-shooter, pulled no punches when he found a man guilty of murder and sentenced him to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years. Oliphant said the case - which involved a stabbing outside a downtown bar - is yet another tragic example of the kind of senseless violence which has become all too common in our city.11) Accused deadly drug dealer gets bail
- A man charged with dispensing a lethal dose of morphine to a young woman was freed from the Remand Centre, despite objections from the Crown. And while we can't tell you specifics of the hearing because of a publication ban, this first-of-its kind case in Manitoba promises to be a doozy if and when it gets to trial.12) Nigerian scam artist gets prison sentence, faces deporation
- So let's get this straight. Canadians are going to pay for this guy - who bilked a retired Winnipeg doctor of more than $35,000 in an elaborate e-mail scam - to spend up to 30-months in jail, only to them immediately send him packing once he's done. Why can't we just save the money and kick him out of the country immediately??Of course, those were just the stories I was personally invovled with reporting on.We also had homicides number 16 and 17 in Winnipeg, the latest craziness involving police being forced to shoot at car thieves, reports of a CFS worker being busted for drug posession while having a child in his car, RCMP vowing to catch the arsonist who burned down a police officer's trailer in a remote reserve, a woman accused of running over and killing a family member while driving drunk, a distraught teen girl speaking out about an unprovoked attack by a large mob of young women, a woman who was critically injured in a sexual assault, Winnipeg police launching an investigation into Facebook photos showing a man lighting a cigarette with an officer's Taser, and a woman sentenced for exposing herself to young children.
Did I miss anything? Actually, plenty. Just take a walk through the downtown Law Courts of any given day and there's non-stop action going on in more than a dozen courtrooms. The stories I file on a daily basis are barely scratching the surface of what's actually happening. Same goes for the police beat, where only a handful of incidents ever get reported on.Yet, the reality is the public seems to want as much information on these types of stories as it can get. Just take a look at the daily "Top 10" story list on the Free Press website, where stories of murder and mayhem are always among the most read.I'm going to take a few days now to catch my breath! In the meantime, feel free to discuss any of these stories and issues below.www.mikeoncrime.com