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  • Images and thoughts from Pauingassi

    IMG_1811.JPG Just got back this evening after a whirlwind 36-hours in Pauingassi covering the Adam Keeper tragedy.(Special thanks to Adventure Air for getting me safely up, and back, on such short notice. You haven't lived till you've been on a float plane with Oscar, one heckuva pilot!)I've got plenty to say about what I saw and heard in Thursday's Free Press but wanted to quickly post some images that gives you a sense of what was going on.746-X00140_9[1].JPG You can also click HERE to see video of the funeral service that I shot.I will say this - contrary to my blog earlier this week about an expected lack of media coverage, I've been pleasantly surprised to see the story picked up across Canada.IMG_1799.JPG CTV National and the Globe and Mail even popped into Pauingassi for a few hours on Tuesday.Feel free to keep the discussion going by posting your thoughts on the case below.IMG_1796.JPG I'm especially interested to hear what you think about his three young killers after you read about their backgrounds in Thursday's paper.And what to make of the bootlegging situation, and the fact so-called "leaders" are apparently turning a blind eye to the import of alcohol into the supposedly dry reserve?IMG_1801.JPGIMG_1807.JPG559-X00068_9[1].JPGIMG_1797.JPG
  • The Kevin Hiebert debate will continue - and other details on Sunday's national radio show

    Here's a look at Sunday's "Crime and Punishment" show, which airs 7-9 p.m. central time across the Corus and Rawlco radio networks. (In Winnipeg, the show is on 680 CJOB)DICK HIEBERT - Father of former Winnipeg resident, Kevin Hiebert, will discuss his son's current plight sitting in a Greece jail cell for a drug conviction and the controversial attempts by friends and family to have the Canadian government intervene. Sure to be a hot talker, as the phone lines lit up during a segment last weekend and my blog has generated a new record for postings on this topic. GABRIEL FERNANDES, a close friend of Kevin Hiebert, will also join the discussion.RAY WYANT - Chief judge of the Manitoba Provincial Court will be along for our monthly "Ask The Judge" segment. Get your questions ready and call 1-800-665-2202.DR PHIL KLASSEN - Renowned Ontario-based expert on chemical castration will discuss the controversial procedure, how effective it can be for treating pedophiles, in the wake of Peter Whitmore's recent public plea to have it done to him following his conviction for the kidnap and rape of two young Prairie boys.OTHER STORIES WE WILL DISCUSSNATIONAL-police probing shocking slayings in vancouver-the search continues for missing quebec girl-dog doused with chemicals in winnipeg-toronto man who fears anti-gay persecution ordered deported-mountie still on force after "disgraceful" behaviour-man convicted in mcdonald's murders threatens to stab guards unless moved-american stockbroker charged with threatening flaherty-canada delays extradition of teen gang member wanted in nashville slaying-former tv director charged with 23 new sex crimes-angry customer flashes gun at car dealership-man who stabbed roomate found not guilty-edmonton drifter charged with drunk driving causing death-public trustee suing michael white on behalf of slain woman-police commission agrees to new evidence in stonechild death case-teen submits to adult sentence in fatal crash-house fire hits poster boy for arson-police arrest alleged foot fiend-victim hopes to sip brew with his alleged shooter-judge recommends higher ceilings after suicide of accused killer-manitoba girl to get $15,000 after being bitten by police dog-the strange case of tony rosato-family hopes footprints a clue in missing woman case-no bail for activist who blocked highway-police stymied by lack of video evidence in ottawa triple murder probe-montreal police crack 1984 murder of actressINTERNATIONAL-execution of innocent teens shocks new jersey-did virginia tech shooter rehearse his rampage?-elderly woman shoots man who asked for quarter-man arrested after attack on four grandmothers at beauty salon-director at texas boot camp charged with dragging teen behind van-cop shoots at snake, kills young boy-flight attendant was drunk, yelled "you're dead"-boyfriend nabbed for new york university murder after slitting wrists-former astronaut nowak wants ankle bracelet removed as she awaits trial-court battle over pacman jones wrestling-police say british girl may be dead-jessica lunsford's killer order to die-top child psychologist to stand trial for molestation-voice recognition technology helps nab drug kingpin-police recover $66 million in stolen paintingsODDLY-woman unhappy with karaoke singer attacks him during coldplay song-redneck games result in raucous arrests-judge seeks to get out of paying legal fees after failed pants lawsuit-cops sporting hello kitty armbands as punishment-translating harry potter lands young muggle in trouble-bank teller flusters would-be robber by asking for bag-florida town bans cowboy boots after slippery soles cause car crash-colorado priest facing charges after jogging nude-gas station burglars tracked by trail of candy wrappers-colombian hitman evades arrest disguised as woman
  • Media, public likely will hit snooze button on an alarming wake-up call

    I’m not sure which is the bigger tragedy.The fact police say a six-year-old Manitoba boy was stripped naked, shoved into a lake and drowned by three bullies aged seven, eight and nine. (Read story HERE)Or the collective shrug of the shoulders this horrific story is likely going to get from the vast majority of the country.Am I being too harsh?I only wish. But I fear this case - and the social ills which surely contribute to such a shocking attack - likely won’t even attract a blip on the national radar.If this happened in a major centre - especially an eastern-based city - it would be all over the news.But it didn’t happen in Toronto, or even Timmins. It happened in Pauingassi, a place few Canadians probably even know exists and even less could actually point out on a map.I’ve been to the remote reserve, and it wasn’t a pretty sight. The place is filled with poverty, abuse, neglect, and a sense of hopelessness.And, obviously, a lack of respect for human life, even at the seemingly tender age of a young child.The facts surrounding Adam Keeper’s death are appalling. And they should serve as a wake-up call to all Canadians about the disturbing conditions on so many remote native reserves.Yet I suspect most people will simply hit the snooze button.I brought this issue up during my “Crime and Punishment” radio show Sunday evening, and many callers agreed with my suggestion that the story will likely be downplayed in a major way.It already has been, with nary a trace of it to be found on several national news websites.I wondered aloud if it’s because both the victim and his attackers are native and the incident happened in some faraway reserve.Out of sight, out of mind.Several agreed race and location are likely factors.One caller suggested it isn’t the fact the victim was native, but that the attackers were. He suggested the story would be a “big deal” if it was white kids killing a native boy.Many questioned the role of the parents, as so often happens in cases where kids run wild.And, to my surprise, quite a few people felt the killer kids should face criminal charges - despite the fact the oldest boy is still three years shy of being eligible for legal consequences. (Click HERE to vote and view my latest Jury Poll on the issue)Me? I was just glad people were talking about the case. And I truly hope that continues.We all have a role to play.As a member of the media, it’s important I don’t gloss over something so serious in favour of the latest Paris, Britney or Lindsay update and do what I can to push for answers and keep the story alive.As a member of the public, I think you owe it to yourself to care deeply about something so tragic. We all live in one world, and stories like this remind us there is much work to be done.Let’s keep the discussion going by posting your thoughts below. A lot of people involved in all aspects of the justice system read this blog so your voice is being heard, loud and clear.Do you agree stories like this don’t get the attention they deserve? Is race a factor? What should be done with these kids? Do they have any kind of future? And what about the parents?
  • Off to Pauingassi...

    map_pauingassi[1].gif Just a quick note that I am flying up to Pauingassi early Tuesday morning to cover the Adam Keeper case.A funeral is slated at 10 a.m. for the six-year-old boy who police say was stripped naked and drowned in a lake last week by a group of bullies, aged seven, eight and nine.I'm planning to spend a couple days in the isolated Manitoba community, trying to get a better read on what happened here.Look for my reports in the Winnipeg Free Press, Canwest newspapers across Canada and on my website at www.mikeoncrime.com.Stay tuned...
  • Greece lightning

    n578422186_205026_3731.jpg The story of Kevin Hiebert has certainly struck a raw nerve with many.As my colleague Aldo Santin wrote last week, Hiebert is the 33-year-old former Winnipeg resident who has spent the past seven years confined to a small cell inside a Greek prison. (See full story HERE)Hiebert was handed a life sentence - with no chance of parole for at least 10 years - after being caught trying to smuggle two kilograms of cocaine inside several pairs of shoes.Now a group of friends and family members are trying to bring Hiebert home by lobbying the federal government to step in and pressure Greek authorities to transfer him to a much more comfy Canadian prison.They believe his punishment is excessive for a young man who made a terrible mistake in a foreign country. And they'd like to get him back on Canadian turf so he could at least get some visitors and, likely, be paroled much earlier then he will overseas.His supporters have even started up a "Free Kevin Hiebert" campaign on Facebook.Ryan McDonald, Hiebert's long-time friend, joined me on my national "Crime and Punishment" radio show Sunday night to discuss the situation.Once we were done, the phone lines started lighting up the second I asked listeners whether they believed Hiebert had gotten a raw deal.n713916062_326245_3469.jpg Not a single person called to offer their support. Everyone felt Hiebert is getting exactly what he deserves and the federal government better not waste a second lobbying on his behalf.Once I shut the calls down and moved on to another topic, the e-mails began flowing. They were all anti-Hiebert.Here's one of them, which nicely summarizes the feelings of most."Mike...Anyone who wants this creep back in Canada should:1. Put up at least $100,000 to cover costs of government people trying to get him transferred here.2. At least $100,000 per year for costs of keeping him in jail here for the rest of his Canadian incarceration.3. At least a $1 million bond that he will not get into further trouble with the law after he is let out on the streets."Yikes.I was surprised, figuring the plight of a Canadian in a foreign prison would at least garner a bit of sympathy. Especially for a young man who's already served a sentence that would probably be longer than anything he'd get here at home for a similar crime.We probably all know someone who's been touched by drugs, and the results usually aren't pretty. And the vast majority of all criminal activity - from gangland shootouts to having your house broken into or car stolen - is connected in some way, shape or form to drugs.I don't lose much sleep worrying about fate of people who've been caught - and punished - for trying to peddle the poison. And it's clear not a lot of you do either.n713916062_326246_3728.jpg Let's keep the discussion going. Post your thoughts on Hiebert below - does anyone out there feel sorry for him? Think he deserves another chance? Want to see him back in Canada? You can also click HERE to vote in my latest website jury poll.
  • A rush to (poor) judgment

    4516658062[1].jpg BREAKING NEWS..."FOOLISH REPORTER GRABS NOTEBOOK, FORGETS BRAIN"As a journalist, you always want to be at the scene of breaking news as quickly as possible.But sometimes, it's possible to be a little too fast!Such was the case late Thursday afternoon.I was sitting in my 4th floor office at the downtown Law Courts complex when a colleague, Jason Bell, called with an interesting tidbit that had just been broadcast over the Winnipeg police scanner."There's apparently some guy with a machine gun in the Norquay Building," Jason said.Now that's not the kind of thing you hear everyday.It took me about 30 seconds to walk out of my office, down three flights of stairs, out the front door...and be standing directly on scene.norquay_building3[1].jpg The Norquay Building is directly across the street from the courthouse.Now what?I certainly had arrived on scene pretty fast - not a single police car was in sight. Or any other media. Or anyone, really.I could hear sirens in the distance, growing louder each second, but decided to hold off on the urge to get any closer without knowing what exactly was going on inside.It's one thing to cover the story - but you never want to make yourself part of the story.terminator[1].jpg And with the potential for a machine gun-toting madman just a stone's throw away, common sense prevailed and kept me at what I felt was a safe distance.In this case it was behind a large tree outside the courthouse."Ya, because a machine gun could never fire out a glass window and through a tree," my extremely wise wife would tell me later.Point taken.Police quickly arrived en masse, with at least a dozen officers running towards the building, ushering some bystanders away and beginning a thorough search which would last about 30 minutes.Fortunately, the call proved to be unfounded and nobody was injured. Seems like a 911 caller may have jumped the gun, literally, when they saw a guy walking through the building carrying some kind of bag.But it certainly brought back some memories for yours truly about other times I've been a little too close for comfort.scanner[1].jpg It used to happen with regularity when I first started out in the business in the mid-1990s, as I pretty much had the police scanner glued to my ear every waking moment.In fact, a photographer and I used to drive around during the early-morning hours, trying to ensure we would be able to respond as quickly as possible to serious calls.The result was plenty of pictures, stories - and a few times we found ourselves getting closer to the action then we'd like.Two stories stand out.The first was the horrible murder of "Beeper" Spence, a 13-year-old who was mistaken for a gang member and shot dead as he strolled down a North End street.The photographer and I happened to be a couple blocks away when the shooting call came over the scanner, and we (foolishly) arrived before police and paramedics.I'll never forget the scene. Beeper was dead on the road, and a large and very angry group of gang members had gathered near the chaotic scene and began threatening us.We ended up running back to our vehicle and waiting until the authorities arrived.The other case involved a call for a guy who had apparently been stabbed - just down the very street we happened to be driving on at the time.We arrived on scene to find the injured man rolling around on the ground."Tell them my wife did it," he said, apparently believing he'd be in no condition to speak with investigators.We told him to hang on, held a towel to his neck wound and assured him everything would be fine. And, fortunately, we were right.There are other times that simply trying to get to a scene quickly proved to be the biggest mistake.I'll save my most memorable story on that front for another day - but let's just say it involves an exploding gas station and a run-in with a none-too-pleased traffic cop!point_blank[1].jpg Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go hide behind my tree.www.mikeoncrime.com
  • Who needs evidence when you've got an agenda?

    657t[1].jpg Has the world gone mad?How else to explain the fact police and prosecutors in Phoenix, Arizona say they are considering homicide charges against an alleged car thief for his supposed "role" in a mid-air crash between two news helicopters that left four people dead.What exactly did Christopher Jermaine Jones do, you ask, to contribute to this tragedy?Um, nothing. But that's apparently of no consequence to the blood-thirsty justice officials who want to pin this on somebody. Evidence be damned!To recap, Jones was the subject of a high-speed that wound its way through the streets of Phoenix last Friday.Media outlets were quick to respond and it wasn't long before several choppers were in the skies, chasing the chase.No doubt this made for dramatic, edge-of-your-seat television. Sadly, the news outlets suddenly found themselves making news - not covering it.656t[1].jpg Two helicopters somehow clipped each other and down they came, landing in a fiery heap in a nearby park. Both pilots, and both cameramen, were killed.Meanwhile, the police chase continued on the ground and Jones was eventually caught.Now I'm all for throwing the book at him for what he did. That would involve the alleged car theft and subsequent police chase.But to suggest that Jones is somehow responsible for what happened a few thousand feet above him is ridiculous, to say the least.Talk about a "slippery slope", which is a term lawyers often use when discussing these kinds of thorny legal situations.Seriously, how far could this go?Let's say a reporter and photographer are driving to someone's house to go interview them. And along the way, they hit a patch of black ice, flip the vehicle and both die.Should the person the reporter and photographer were going to meet be charged? Of course not.So how is this any different? Yes, the media were doing their jobs. And, sadly, it cost four people their lives.pc4kcozl[1].jpg But Jones didn't put a gun to their heads and force them into those helicopters. He didn't fire a barrage of bullets into the sky, forcing the pilots to change their flight plans to avoid being hit and trigger the crash.All he did was speed away from police. And if a police vehicle had crashed during the chase with tragic results, then I'd suggest there might actually be a case against the alleged thief. They had a duty to get directly in the line of danger and arrest the dangerous suspect, so they should be afforded some protection in law.But the media are not police. They didn't HAVE to be chasing the chase. And if they were going to, it was their responsibility to be careful.And that is what this all comes down to. Personal responsibility.In Canada we seem to still have a strong sense of it. But our neighbours to the south apparently don't and will jump at any chance to blame someone else for something, anything. Lay a charge, file a lawsuit, just DO SOMETHING! It's the American way.We discussed this issue on Sunday night's "Crime and Punishment" radio show across the Corus network and my phone lines lit up like a Christmas tree.Only one person felt there was a case here, although he backed away from his stance a bit when I challenged him with the goofy scenario I mentioned above.Now's your chance to talk.Does anyone out there actually believe there is a case to be made against the alleged thief? Do you think the Americans have lots their collective minds?Post your views below. You can also CLICK HERE to vote on this issue in my latest "Jury Poll".
  • 'Deal with the devil' a good move

    160_whitmore1_060731.jpg WHITEWOOD, Sask. - It's amazing what you can find sometimes when you're not even looking.I came out to this eastern Saskatchewan town this week, with plans to re-interview some of the key figures involved in last summer's tragic Peter Whitmore abduction/sex assault case.The idea was to do a feature marking the one-year anniversary of the high-profile case.Yet the future feature quickly gave way to some blockbuster breaking news after I learned Whitmore had struck what is sure to be a controversial plea bargain with justice officials.The result was a national exclusive that is surely going to be the subject of much water cooler debate.The issue is pretty simple - should justice officials have done a so-called Deal With The Devil?Whitmore is going to plead guilty to his crimes and, in exchange, receive the harshest sentence in Canadian law - life. Of course, because Whitmore didn't kill anyone, that means he is eligible for parole after serving just seven years.When - or if - he gets out, Whitmore will remain the subject of parole conditions until the day he dies. Any breaches would land him right back behind bars, provided they are caught before its too late.whitmore_peter060824.jpg In exchange for his plea, the two young victims are spared from testifying. That's a good thing in my book. They went through hell. And forcing them to re-live it on the witness stand, in full view of the public, can't be healthy.But here's the rub. The Crown had to give something up. And that was agreeing NOT to pursue a dangerous offender designation against Whitmore. Such a label is very rare in Canada (Paul Bernardo has it) and means a criminal is jailed indefinitely, and likely forever. There is no expiration date. No parole eligibility. No hope, really.That was likely the deal breaker here. Whitmore gets some slim hope to cling to, in exchange for bringing a sudden end to a shocking case.Yet something tells me the majority aren't going to see this in a very positive light.The public - especially folks out this way - will see it as another example of the justice system cowering to criminals. Whitmore's history is well known. The man has multiple sex-related convictions spanning more than a decade and probably never should have been out last summer to even be able to commit these crimes.And the fact the justice system would do anything but go for the throat will leave an awful taste in many mouths.Surprisingly, a voice of reason in all this comes from the family of the 10-year-old Saskatchewan boy. They aren't happy with the deal. But they're not angry at it either. They realize the clock can't be turned back to undo what happened to their son and the other young victim from Winnipeg. And they realize that no matter what sentence Whitmore gets, it won't change a single thing for the boys.Smartly, they are focusing on the future. On channeling the anger over what happened to them on making some positive changes to ensure people like Whitmore don't have the opportunities to attack innocent families like them.Once the court case is finally behind them, they plan to become extremely vocal on the national stage in petitioning Ottawa for tougher legislation. And they clearly have an audience in the federal Conservatives. That's a good thing.So here's my take on all this. Saskatchewan justice is doing the right thing in playing ball with Whitmore and cutting this deal - despite (unwisely, in retrospect) vowing no such deals would be made last summer.Look, there's no way in hell Whitmore is pleading guilty and agreeing to a dangerous offender designation. Why would anyone do that? There's no incentive. It'd be like pleading guilty to first-degree murder. It just doesn't happen.So, if the Crown insisted on that, then we go to trial. And the victims are forced to be examined. And cross-examined. And then a verdict is rendered and, likely, a sentencing hearing begins.And it is entirely possible the end result would be exactly the same - a life sentence. As I said earlier, dangerous offender labels are hard to come by. They're not slam dunks.Peter Whitmore may never get parole. He might not even survive the seven years behind bars before he's eligible. Or, he might make a stunning turnaround, get out one day and then, hopefully, be watched like a hawk.But as the family of the Saskatchewan victim told me this week, that's not their focus anymore. They have their sights set on much bigger things then Whitmore. And I say good for them.Agree? Disagree? Post your thoughts below.
  • Uncomfortably numb

    WhitmoreFront200.jpg Rarely am I at a loss for words. But as I sit here in my downtown Regina hotel room, there's only one way I can truly describe how I'm feeling.Numb.Rarely has a case I've covered thrown me for a loop like the Peter Whitmore matter.But after hearing every single horrific detail emerge at Whitmore's sentencing hearing today, I find myself struggling to understand how humans can be so cruel.Especially to sweet, innocent children.Peter Whitmore was once a child. He wasn't born evil. Yet that is exactly what he has become. And after more than a decade of covering crime, I still can't figure out how that happens. I don't think I ever will.Whitmore wasn't driven to kidnap and rape kids because of some untreated drug or alcohol addiction.He didn't spin an elaborate web of lies and come up with unreal tales of deceit based on some one-time error in judgment.What he did to these two boys - and other child victims before them, to a lesser but still very serious degree - was cold-blooded and calculating.It is probably the worst set of facts, by the worst offender, that I've heard since Paul Bernardo's case was in court.Personally, the Whitmore case is harder for me to stomach than many others I've covered because I've actually gotten to know one of the victims quite well.The 10-year-old Saskatchewan boy - who I've previously described in a blog as the bravest kid I've ever met - has some qualities which I see in my young son. And my heart aches for him, his amazing family along with the Winnipeg teen and his family.One thing has become crystal clear to me. Peter Whitmore should never taste freedom again. Ever.The parole board must deny any and all bids for release and ensure he dies behind bars and never gets the opportunity to harm another child. He's past the point of no return and all out of second chances.Life must be life.This case has also left me believing it's time the federal government look at creating a special class of sentence for the Whitmores and Bernardos of this country.Take parole out of the equation. Make a life sentence absolute.Because all the so-called controversy over the Crown taking the dangerous offender designation off the table is somewhat misleading.Whitmore would still be eligible to be considered for release regardless. Yes, it may be an even steeper hill to climb. But he can still try and climb it. That's because there is NO sentence in Canadian law allowing for the prison key to literally be thrown away.As I said last week, I think this is a good deal - under the currently legislative climate - mainly because it spares the victims from testifying.After sitting in court today, I'm just glad it was the Crown reciting the disgusting facts of this case - and not the two boys being forced to do it in full public view.There is a ton of information to digest on the Whitmore case, and we at the Free Press have been doing the most thorough job you'll find anywhere in this country.Besides a slew of stories which have followed the case from start to finish, we've now posted the verbatim transcript of the Crown's sentencing submission. This gives you a great opportunity to have an unfiltered look at exactly what was said and what Whitmore did. Click HERE to read it.We've also posted the nine victim impact statements tendered in court, including statements from both boys, their parents and siblings. They are powerful, heartbreaking and a must read. Click HERE to do so.And stay tuned. I'm not done with this case yet. Far from it.(Got a thought you'd like to share? Post it below)www.mikeoncrime.com
  • A pretty sad commentary

    220t[1].jpg Sagin Bali has no doubt at all about why he was randomly targeted last summer and brutally beaten as he waited for a bus on Main Street.The president of the Sudanese Association of Manitoba still bristles as he remembers hearing things like "black monkey" and "why don't you go back where you came from" as he tried to protect himself from a flurry of kicks and punches.Kingsley McDonald, an aboriginal man whose criminal record includes a manslaughter conviction, would be arrested and charged in the attack which left Bali with a badly shattered ankle and a broken spirit.The Crown tried to up the ante when it came to sentencing by proving McDonald's actions met the Criminal Code definition of a hate crime.It seemed like a no-brainer, especially after Bali got on the witness stand to testify about what he recalled.But after a day-long hearing, provincial court Judge Judith Elliott refused to find McDonald was motivated by hate - even though she found Bali to be a credible witness.Rage, yes. But not racism.Elliott's main reason? The fact McDonald, as a native man living in Manitoba, has apparently been subjected to plenty of racism himself.In a nutshell, the judge didn't believe a man who'd been on the receiving end of hurtful taunts and slurs could deliberately turn the tables on someone from another race.Doesn't this strike you as ridiculous?I mean, isn't that a bit like saying someone who was subjected to horrible physical/emotional/sexual abuse in their past isn't capable of carrying out similar acts against someone else?Yet we see those kinds of cases and hear those kinds of explanations every single day in courts. And judges routinely accept an offender's abusive background as a mitigating factor when dishing out sentences many believe to be lenient.So why couldn't a victim of racism become a racist?McDonald, for the record, claims he never attacked Bali because of the colour of his skin. He says he was "just having a bad day, a bad few months" and decided to take his anger out on someone for no reason. And that someone was Bali.It's interesting to note that a videotape of the attack shows McDonald paying no attention to several other potential victims - all of whom were either white or native - before he jumps Bali, the first black man to enter the picture.As I wrote in Friday's paper, McDonald was sentenced this week to 52 months in jail.He's already done 14, which was given the magical double-time credit of 28. That leaves him with another 24. He could be released in as little as eight months (one-third of the remaining sentence), but it's more likely he will do a full 16 months before getting statutory release.So, in reality, he will do as little as 22 months of real time. 30, max.The Crown was seeking a stiffer penalty, as they should have. McDonald is a very violent man who has been given ample chances to turn his life around. And he has failed.The system has also failed Bali, who told me recently he is likely going to leave Canada and return home because he is so disgusted with what's happened to him.There's another reason for Bali''s outrage.The videotape didn't just capture him being attacked. It also caught the complete apathy shown by at least eight witnesses who simply walked by without so much as lifting a finger to help him.Bali was eventually forced to peel himself off the pavement and limp down Main Street, bloodied and limping from his fractured ankle. Alone."I guess it's a pretty sad commentary," Crown attorney Liz Pats told court Thursday.Sadly, she's probably right. In more ways then one.(What do you think? Agree with the judge's finding that a victim of racism can't be racist? Got a thought on why nobody would stop to help Bali? Would you? Post it below)www.mikeoncrime.com
  • Black Friday

    13black.600[1].jpg Well, well well...The Conrad Black case DID get a little interesting after all.Loyal readers of this blog will no doubt recall that I recently questioned whether the trial had even come close to living up to all the hype surrounding it.finger372192[1].jpg And while I still think the answer is a resounding "NO", these past few days have provided a fair share of drama - from jurors saying they were deadlocked earlier in the week to Conrad flipping the bird to the cameras.And it all came to a heated conclusion on Friday the 13th, which may now be forever known as Black Friday.Black now faces a maximum of 35 years in prison, based on the fact American courts have no problem stacking one sentence on top of another. In Canada, consecutive sentences are a rarity.conradblack_wideweb__470x290,0[1].jpg We'll have to wait until Nov. 30 to learn his fate. But that doesn't mean we can't all speculate.Click HERE to cast your vote in my latest website Jury Poll, which asks you to pick from one of several sentencing ranges. I'm curious to know what you all think.
  • Applying a band-aid to a gaping wound

    crimestat.sized.jpg It has been about 72 hours since a grim-faced Winnipeg mayor Sam Katz, flanked by acting police Chief Menno Zacharias, held court with reporters in a hastilty-arranged news conference to address a spree of inner-city shootings that left one man dead and two others critically injured.Katz, to his credit, announced action.Police resources in the problem area would be tripled, effective immediately. And officers, he said, would have "zero tolerance" for any breaches of the Criminal Code, however minor.So what has happened in the wake of this announcement?Well, things have seemingly been pretty quiet in the blood-spattered William Whyte neighbourhood.And all hell has broken loose in other parts of the city.There have been two shooting incidents in which Winnipeg police have been forced to discharge their weapons - a sure sign that street violence has reached a point rarely, if ever, seen in these parts. (Read the latest HERE)One happened outside a downtown nightclub early Saturday morning, in which police were on scene investigating a disturbance when a man began shooting another man, then fired at officers. Police responded with bullets, wounding the alleged shooter. He is expected to survive.238-0716shooting2.jpg The second occurred early this morning in River Heights, following a brief chase of an apparent robbery suspect. The circumstances aren't entirely clear yet, but it appears at least two shots were fired. The suspect was injured, but it also expected to make a full recover.There has also been what will likely turn out to be a homicide, with a body found dumped on the northwest outskirts of the city.And no less than four serious stabbings spread around the city, and police have also managed to make arrests in two recent unsolved slayings.Of course, this doesn't even begin to touch who knows how many property crimes - from break-and-enters to car thefts - also occurred. And we know, from my colleague Bruce Owen's recent series of stories, that many members of the public no longer even bother to call these ones in, knowing police have much more pressing matters to deal with and likely don't have the time, or resources, to respond in any kind of effective way.The ultra-violent weekend should send a very loud and clear message to Katz, and other politicians.There are no quick fixes. Crime is everywhere. And it's not going away anytime soon.firstaid.jpgApplying a band-aid to a wounded North End neighbourhood may have kept things quiet for a few days, but what about the rest of the city?Police have been calling for extra resources for years. Police have also been saying - with good reason - about an increasing level of violence and the fact officers are finding themselves under attack with greater frequency.The list of problems is endless. Drug abuse. Poverty. Poor parenting. Disenfranchised youth. And what many see as a toothless justice system.Until our local, provincial and federal leaders start addressing those issues in a serious, long-term way and putting their money with their mouths are, we are likely to see many more weekends like that one we just came through.Got a thought on this issue? An idea on how to better address the problem? Make your voice heard and post it below.www.mikeoncrime.com
  • I spy a scam

    Alexander_Litvinenko_narrowweb__300x423,0.jpg If I had a nickel for every time I get an e-mail promising me a pot of gold at the end of some bizarre international rainbow, I'd probably be a very rich man.Most try to present themselves as official documents of some kind, claiming I have been randomly selected out of millions of people around the world to receive some kind of mystery inheritance.I always wonder who actually responds to these and if anyone actually believes there is even a shred of legitimacy to them.Anyway, I thought I'd seen them all - until a friendly reader sent me the following which he received earlier this week.It's the same basic bogus set-up, but with a bit of a current events twist. Anyone else out there get this? Or ever follow up on these kinds of scams?(PS - Here's a game - try and count the spelling and grammatical errors contained in the oh-so official legal documents!)***Atten,I am Barr Edward A. Cole, a solicitor at law. I am the personal attorney to Late Mr. Alexander Litvinenko, A Russian ex-Spy in London who was poison with polonium-210 and died on the 23rd of November 2006 at the University College Hospital here in Central London. Before his death my client made a secret and confidential confession to me that he was poisoned by his Russian Associates.Two weeks before his death my client told me that he lodged a consignment worth ($5 million Dollars) in a depository firm in abroad which i cannot disclose to you now but he tagged the consignment to be Photographic materials for export i.e. the Finance Security firm are not enlighten about the content of the consignment. As his personal Attorney i believe that his associates will be coming after me because my client never told me why they poisoned him rather in his confession he told me not to disclose to anyone (Associates OR Family) about the fund.Firstly this transaction will require funding, you will be ready to travel and claim the consignment from the security firm and immediate preparation of memorandum agreement that will establish a structural relationship between us and also spell out your 40% for your assistance and the working conditions for investment with you in your country, I assure you 100% risk free in this transaction now or in future and will be no trace of the transfer,Sincerely,Barrister Edward A. ColeNB. Please be informed that this is very confidential and should be a top secret, if you are interested.*****
  • Did bikini-clad reporter go too far for story?

    Amy_Jacobson_Veteran_WMAQ_TV_reporter_Amy_Jacobson__wearing_a_halter_bikini_top_and_towel__appears[1].jpg You know the media loves a good scandal - especially when it involves a competitor.That's exactly what's going down in Chicago this week where television station WBBM had a doozy land on their doorstep.Somehow, video was obtained of a female reporter from rival WMAQ inside the home of a man whose estranged wife went missing under mysterious circumstances in April.The reporter - who's been covering the story for her station - was clad in a bikini top and towel. The bare-chested husband was beside her.Yowza! Talk about a story with legs.I've been encouraged by editors in the past to try and flesh out a story - but I don't think this is what they had in mind!The reporter, Amy Jacobson, has been fired. Her journalistic career may be in shambles. Although you know it's the American way to try and cash in on a scandal so we likely haven't see the last of her.You can read the full story by clicking HERE.And I ask you to weigh in on the question that no doubt is bouncing around many newsrooms and journalism schools as we speak.Did Amy Jacobson actually do anything wrong? After all, nobody's accusing her of sleeping with the husband. Or doing anything other than attend what appears to be an informal pool party on her day off, even bringing her two children with her for a swim.Some might call that good journalism. Cultivating sources is a major part of what we do to develop the stories delivered to you on a daily basis.You do lunches, drinks, maybe play a round of golf every now and then. It's pretty standard stuff.So why is Jacobson now looking for work?If I were to go out for dinner one evening with a woman whose husband was missing, with the purpose of developing a bond and getting a story, would I have crossed some line?Now what if one of my female colleagues were to do the same thing, but with the husband of a missing woman?It shouldn't make any difference. Yet I can't help but think it would make ALL the difference based on what's happening here.Of course, this wasn't a dinner meeting. It was a pool party. And Jacobson is being grilled for her attire, although was she expected to wear a business suit to go swimming? And once again, would there have been any issue if the genders were reversed?Post your thoughts below. And click HERE to cast your vote on this issue in my latest website jury poll.
  • It could always be worse...couldn't it?

    CMSV18-USA-FRP__Canada_USA_Friendship_patch[1].jpg There's no doubt we have a major youth crime problem in our own backyard. I've seen that first-hand this week with two stories I've penned that have generated plenty of anger.Our "Killer Kids" piece on Wednesday revealed a record number of Manitoba teens have been charged with homicides in the past 18 months.And my "Teen Rampage" story in Friday's paper has plenty of people fuming because the 17-year-old who randomly selected nine innocent, vulnerable victims to brutalize was spared an adult sentence.However, as bad as things might seem here in Canada, a quick glance at our neighbours to the south is always good for some perspective.There were three separate stories out of the United States on Friday alone which blew me away. Here's a summary:13623998[1].jpg 1. WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. (AP) – Two teenagers were accused of gang raping a woman and forcing her 12-year-old son to join in the attack, then beating him and pouring cleaning solution into his eyes.Authorities allege Avion Lawson and Nathan Walker, 16, were among a group of about 10 masked suspects who forced their way into the woman’s apartment in a crime-ridden housing project.The two were being held without bail Friday on suspicion of armed sexual battery by multiple perpetrators, sexual performance by a child, armed home invasion and aggravated battery. Both were arrested this week, but formal charges had not been filed. Authorities said the two would be charged as adults.“Any rape case is horrible but this takes it to another level, something you can’t think of even in your worst dreams,” police spokesman Ted White said.READ FULL STORY BY CLICKING HERE***623t[1].jpg 2. ENID, Oklahoma (AP) — Detectives arrested a 12-year-old girl and her 10-year-old sister for allegedly abducting their neighbor’s 1-year-old son and demanding $200,000 for his return.Brandon Wells was back at home Thursday night, hours after intruders broke into his family’s residence and took him while his mother, Sheila Wells, slept, police said.“I’ve been doing this 18 1/2 years, and this is the first time I know of when a 10- and a 12-year-old kidnapped a 1-year-old,” said police Capt. Dean Grassino. “It definitely ranks up there with the unusual crimes.”The siblings, who were not identified because of their ages, are accused of sneaking into Wells’ home at about 5:30 a.m., taking Brandon and leaving a ransom note.“If you want to see your son again then you won’t call police and report him missing and you will leave $200,000 on the sofa tonight and we will return your son back safe,” the note read, according to police.The note was signed, “the kidnappers.”READ FULL STORY BY CLICKING HERE***13636624[1].jpg 3. ORANGE BEACH, Ala. (AP) — Police who chased a car along a highway at speeds up to 160 km/h said the driver was drunk, hardly a rarity in this resort town. But there was more: When they looked inside the flipped vehicle with guns drawn, they found an 11-year-old girl at the wheel.“You go up there thinking it’s a felon you’re dealing with,” assistant police Chief Greg Duck said.The girl, who was slightly injured in the crash, is now charged with driving under the influence of alcohol, speeding, reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of an accident.Duck said she sideswiped another vehicle during the 13-kilometre chase.The chase began around 10:30 p.m. Tuesday when a patrol officer near the Florida line saw the car speeding west along a beach highway, Duck said. When the officer flicked on his lights, the driver sped up. The girl rolled the car just inside the Gulf Shores city limit.READ FULL STORY BY CLICKING HERE***So, do these horror stories change your views at all about youth crime in Canada? Or do they simply show that kids are out of control on both sides of the border?Post your thoughts below - and join me this Sunday night, 7-9 p.m. CST, for my national "Crime and Punishment" radio show across the Corus and Rawlco radio networks where we'll be talking about all these cases and plenty more.www.mikeoncrime.com
  • Killer kids

    _783811_youthcrime300[1].jpg We've heard plenty of cries lately about youth car thieves - yet nary a word, it seems, about a far greater crisis within the criminal justice system.I'm talking about kids who are stealing lives, not property.The stats are sobering and shocking, as my colleague Bruce Owen and I reported Wednesday in the Free Press. (Click HERE for full story and stats)14 Manitoba youths have already been charged with murder or manslaughter in the first six months of 2007.That already exceeds the 12 we saw in 2006.And the 7 in 2005.police_line[1].jpg I've never been one to put much stock in homicide rates, as they tend to go up and down based on a variety of circumstances. Much of it has to do with luck and the miracles of modern medicine which can make all the difference between living and dying on the mean streets.However, I find the youth numbers extremely alarming. And not just the stats, but the details of the crimes they are being charged with.Killing seems to be almost a thrill sport these days for some groups of youths. Consider the following cases.*Seven teens have been charged with second-degree murder for a brutal, mob-style attack that left a 22-year-old man dead in pool of his own blood in St. Theresa Point last month.*In May, two teen girls, aged 13 and 15, were accused of participating in the beating death of a 22-year-old Pauingassi First Nation woman.*On Valentine’s Day, a 16-year-old boy and three young adults were charged with murder after an 18-year-old man was killed and a 15-year-old critically injured during a day-long gang fight in Garden Hill.*On New Year’s Eve, three teens aged 13 to 16 along two adults were charged with beating a man to death on the Chemawawin Cree Nation.These kinds of pack attacks aren't just happening on remote reserves, either:*Last October, three girls and a boy, aged 12 to 15, were accused of swarming 34-year-old Audrey Cooper and brutally beating her to death in Winnipeg's West End.Friends of the arrested youths told the Free Press they weren’t surprised by the level of violence police say occurred. Calling themselves the “Westsiders”, a group of about 60 youths wander the West End at night, “juicing up” on alcohol and picking fights with whoever happens to cross their path. On the night of Oct. 21 it was Cooper who crossed their path. She was simply walking home after picking up some groceries.*The same sorry circumstances were involved the June 2006 group beating death of 45-year-old Peter Debungee, who was attacked at random outside the downtown Maryland Hotel just moments after buying beer.A 16-year-old boy - who has since pleaded guilty and got 18 months of jail - and several others had been causing trouble in the area all day, including picking fights with strangers.Debungee died of massive head injuries after he was beaten unconscious and dragged by a mob on to McGee Street, where his head was placed on a curb and repeatedly stomped on.Just because they could, I guess.Why aren't we hearing more about this? Why aren't members of the public and politicians crying out for new laws, more enforcement, greater responsibilities for potential victims?I'm not trying to downplay car theft. It is a massive problem, and the truth is most members of the public are more likely to have their vehicle swiped from their driveway then to be curb-stomped by a pack of blood-thirsty teens.handcuffs_03[1].jpg Yet this disregard for human life that we are seeing and the fact 26 youths have been charged with taking a life in the past 18 months doesn't exactly bode well for the future, does it?So what can be done? How do we prevent the vicious circle from continuing, from a whole new generation of killers being raised in our cities and communities?Your suggestions are welcome. Your interest - and concern - should be mandatory.
  • Wrestling "hero" a cowardly killer

    Benoitstory[1].jpg I haven't been able to stop thinking about little Daniel Benoit - or get the image out of my head of his hulking father snuffing out his life with a bag.Sadly, that is exactly what happened inside an Atlanta house of horrors last weekend.Montreal-born and Alberta-trained pro wrestler Chris Benoit did the unthinkable, killing seven-year-old Daniel and his wife, Nancy, before taking his own life.Just when you think the facts can't get any worse, they do. Every hour Tuesday seemed to add another layer of terror.We may never truly know what drove Benoit - long considered one of the most respected, grounded men in the often zany world of pro wrestling - to wipe out his entire family in one sadistic weekend.chris-benoit2[1].jpg Was it 'roid rage? Despite the fact World Wrestling Entertainment says Benoit passed a drug test in April, those who use and abuse performance-enhancing drugs know how to beat the system. And the fact a large quantity of steroids and other prescription drugs were hauled out of Benoit's home in a pretty telling sign.Was it depression? A sudden descent into madness? The heavy toll of a lonely life on the road with no off-season?A review of the facts suggest this was a cold and calculated act, not a spur-of-the-moment reaction.Nancy Benoit had been tied up and bound. She was killed as early as Friday. Daniel Benoit was likely killed several hours later. A Bible was placed beside his lifeless body.Benoit then made a series of bizarre text messages to a couple co-workers, telling a bogus story of his wife and son suffering food poisoning and going to hospital.In all likelihood both were long dead. Yet Benoit stayed in the house with their bodies for up to 24 more hours before he took the coward's way out and ended his own life.In the eyes of millions fans - including me - Benoit could do no wrong. He was among the best in his profession and earned worldwide respect.Now he is just a gutless double killer. And that will be his legacy.***I've compiled a series of links those of you interested in this story may want to check out. You can get a bit dizzy trying to follow all of this, so hopefully this guide will help.My latest column, appearing online and in Wednesday's Free Press, can be found HERE.Click HERE for a very interesting timeline of events put together by WWE.Click HERE for a very good Sports Illustrated read calling for congress to force WWE to clean up their act.There are two wrestling-related websites which stand above all the others for their accuracy and integrity, in my opinion. Both have been doing excellent work reporting this story. California-based Dave Meltzer's Wrestling Observer can be found HERE, while Minnesota-based Wade Keller's Pro Wrestling Torch can be found HERE.Click HERE to get details on a previous restraining order filed by Nancy Benoit against Chris Benoit in 2003.I will post others as they come to my attention. And keep checking this blog - and my www.mikeoncrime.com website - for all the latest details.
  • Breaking their silence - on national radio

    prairie-radio-mic[1].gif They had nothing to say in court - but plenty to share with a national live radio audience.Gharib Abdullah and Cory Amyotte stunned me and no doubt many listeners Sunday evening when they called into my "Crime and Punishment" show from the cozy confines of prison.You'll recall these two Winnipeg street gang members were just hit Friday with precedent-setting prison terms for refusing to testify in the high-profile Phil Haiart murder trial.My technical producer, Amy, told me during a break that I might want to chat with the caller named "Cory" off the air. She had a sense this might not be a routine type of situationAnd she was right.Amyotte quickly identified himself, answered a couple of my questions just to verify this wasn't some prankster, and insisted he had something to say.Not entirely sure where this was going - but never one to refuse a person's right to speak - I didn't hesitate to bring them on.Go figure - Amyotte doesn't think much of the four-year sentence he got from Justice Albert Clearwater."I'm appealing," Amyotte quickly told the radio audience.Abdullah took a slightly different approach, expressing concern with his three-and-a-half year term ONLY because it will delay his deportation back to his native Iraq."All I want right now is to get deported. Get me out of this country. I don't like it," said Abdullah.The two angry Mad Cowz then went on to criticize police for getting them to talk in the first place - a move that resulted in their videotaped statements being shown to jurors.390t[1].jpg Amyotte and Abdullah, of course, were the intended targets of the shooting that killed Haiart in October 2005.As a result, they were the only eyewitnesses who could put the gun in the hands of the two accused - Jeff Cansanay and a 17-year-old youth who can't yet be named.Amyotte and Abdullah refused to testify at both trials with vastly different results.Cansanay was acquitted in April when Justice Morris Kaufman refused to let jurors see their videotaped statements.The youth was convicted of seven charges last week when Clearwater allowed their statements in. He is now likely going to receive an adult sentence.Amyotte and Abdullah told me they only spoke to police in the first place because they were receiving sweet deals in exchange - no charges would be laid for their admitted involvement in several attacks on Cansanay and the youth preceding Haiart's death."They gave us immunity," said Amyotte.I asked both gang members if they now regretted not testifying, as they are paying a heavy price while still being exposed as "rats" for talking to police in the first place."I don't regret it one bit," said Amyotte.Abdullah and Amyotte, not surprisingly, tried to distance themselves from what they said in the police video."I don't believe these guys are guilty," Amyotte said of the youth and Cansanay.Abdullah went even further. He specifically identified Cansanay and the youth as being the ones to shoot at him and Amyotte in his statement to police. Now he claims that wasn't true."I only said it because I didn't want to get charged," said Abdullah."Are you saying now you gave false information at the time?" I asked."Yes," he replied.Sounds like damage control to me.image00F[1].jpg It was at that point I ended the conversation. I'd let them both have a brief say, got some interesting comments on the record, but I was fearful of giving these two gangsters too much of a podium.As I told the radio audience, it was a pretty powerful example of what police, prosecutors and the justice system are up against when dealing with reluctant witnesses and gangbangers who believe they are in control.So now that they've had their say, it's your turn. Feel free to post your feedback below on the following questions which have been circulating through my brain.-Should I have even brought these guys on the air in the first place? Was I just giving them 15 minutes of fame? Or was it a good slice of life and unique angle on an important legal story.-Will the contempt of court sentences handed down by Clearwater truly send a strong message to others that silence won't be accepted in court? Is this a sign that the courts are finally looking to wrestle control back from the criminals?-Will the Manitoba Court of Appeal support Clearwater's positions - both on allowing the videotaped into evidence and then hammering the reluctant witnesses with long prison terms? And, if they do, will that encourage other judges to go out on a limb as Clearwater did?By the way, click HERE if you'd like to listen to my interview with Amyotte and Abdullah. Just select the date - July 1 - and time 7 p.m., then move the hour counter on your audio player ahead to around the 34 minute mark, where it begins.www.mikeoncrime.com
  • If only it were just a storyline...

    4960632.jpg It is not a stretch to suggest there are millions of people around the world in a state of shock right now over the tragic news that Canadian professional wrestler Chris Benoit, his wife Nancy and their 7-year-old son Daniel were found dead in their suburban Atlanta home Monday afternoon.I candidly admit to being one of them and was in a state of disbelief as I penned a story on the tragedy Monday evening. (Read the latest HERE)As a performer with the wildly popular World Wrestling Entertainment, Benoit has played to global audiences most athletes and entertainers can only dream of.I've personally seen him perform several times and even got the chance to meet him a few years ago in Saskatchewan while doing a feature story on pro wrestling for the Free Press.Benoit was the consumate pro, a total class act who had no problem answering my questions about the rigours of life on the road, the importance of his family and the responsibilities that come with being a role model to so many.42452568.jpgWhen the serious chatter was done, Benoit even took up Free Press photographer Wayne Glowacki's suggestion that he put me in a headlock.Now we were talking Benoit's language. Because although he was never the greatest talker on the microphone, Benoit loved the physical action and was certainly regarded as one of the best pure athletes and technicians the storied history of pro wrestling has ever seen.And, as a proud Canadian, Benoit won the hearts of many fans - young and old - for his desire and determination in the ring.It's safe to say the majority of mourners will be more shocked by how Benoit and his family died - not the fact that yet another pro wrestler is gone.Sadly, wrestling has a terrible recent history of stars fading out fast. And wrestling fans have almost come to expect another sad ending right around the corner. Much of the deaths have been the result of health ailments suffered by years of drug, alcohol and/or steroid abuse.14-730Wrestler_Dead.sff.standalone.prod_affiliate.38[1].jpg If the reports coming out of Atlanta are true, Benoit killed his wife and son in the past few days - then finally took his own life Monday morning.There is no question Chris Benoit was a larger-than-life superhero to many.And I'm sure many people were hoping news of this tragedy was just another tacky WWE storyline taking shape.After all, this is the same company that recently staged the explosive "death" of owner Vince McMahon on live television in a ratings stunt complete with a fictional investigator searching for his supposed killer.This plot was slated to heat up this week on the company's flagship show, Monday Night Raw, and was to include an elaborate funeral/memorial service for McMahon.Benoit[1].jpg So no doubt many viewers were stunned Monday night to flick on The Score in Canada and USA Network down south to see a very much alive McMahon standing in an empty ring, fighting emotion, announcing the deaths of Benoit and his family.A genuine, three-hour memorial show followed. And real tears - not the ones cooked up for a television audience - began to flow.There will be many more tears in the days to come, along with so many questions about how this could have happened.Feel free to weigh in with your thoughts below.
  • A long hot summer of violence?

    Several police and justice sources have recently told me to expect a long, hot summer in terms of street and gang violence.628-a3talbot[1].JPG There is plenty of flux right now in the local crime scene as police have made some significant dents with recent arrests and seizures.Still, the demand for the products supplied by local hoods - drugs - is as big as ever and that means plenty of competition for the almighty dollar.In the past we may have been inclined to say 'Oh well, let the criminals take each other out" and simply gone on our merry way.But the October 2005 shooting death of 17-year-old Phil Haiart - an innocent bystander caught in the crossfire of gang warfare - was a disturbing reality check for many.Let's hope it doesnt come to that again. But developments during the past week should have us all concerned.981-a3pacific[1].JPG As you can read HERE, there were two separate weekend shootings which left one man dead and two others seriously injured. Police say both may be gang-related.Maybe the most disturbing case is the one my colleague, Bruce Owen, reported exclusively on late last week.A Hells Angels was stabbed in a Corydon Avenue bar in a case that shows even the world's most powerful criminal organization isn't immune from coming under attack. (Read story HERE)Why should this worry us? Well, the fact is the Hells are perhaps in the biggest state of confusion right now, with several members behind bars either convicted of serious charges or facing them.NYHETER-22s30-mc-736_438[1].jpg Many insiders believe they are ripe for a challenge to the virtual monopoly they enjoy in this province - and the fact that someone would boldly attack a member with a knife might suggest it has already started.As Bruce reported, "Some sources said the attack could be a prelude to a gang war, in that a Hells Angel was apparently targeted for no other reason than he’s one of 14 Hells Angels in Manitoba."And that can't be good for anyone living in Manitoba. Just ask folks in Quebec how they enjoyed having a biker battle erupt on their streets several years ago.This will be something to watch very closely in the next few weeks.www.mikeoncrime.com

About Mike McIntyre

Journalist, national radio show host, author, pundit and cruise director ... Mike McIntyre loves to keep busy.

Mike is the justice reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press, where he has worked since 1997. He produces and hosts the weekly talk radio show Crime and Punishment, which runs on the Corus Radio Network in several Canadian cities.

Born and bred in Winnipeg, Mike graduated from River East Collegiate and completed his journalism studies in the Creative Communications program at Red River College.

He and his wife, Chassity, have two children.

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