First-degree murder charge laid in 2020 Winnipeg slaying
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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/09/2022 (280 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A Winnipeg man has been charged with first-degree murder in a 2020 homicide, but the victim’s family is still waiting for answers.
Aaron Mousseau, 41, was arrested and charged Tuesday in the slaying of 56-year-old Bud Paul after a lengthy probe by three police agencies, Manitoba RCMP major crimes commander Supt. Rob Lasson said at a news conference Thursday morning.
“We hope that this arrest brings some closure to Bud’s family,” Lasson said.
Manitoba First Nations Police Service officers found Paul’s body in deep brush on Roseau River Anishinaabe First Nation, about 100 kilometres south of Winnipeg, on Aug. 11, 2020, four days after he was reported missing to Winnipeg police.
His death was declared a homicide.
For Paul’s granddaughter, Myeesha Dirsa, the arrest and charge brought a mix of emotions. She feels at ease knowing a suspect is in custody, but also feels angry about the way her grandfather’s life came to an end.
“Nobody deserves to go like this, especially not my grandpa,” said Dirsa. “He was dedicated to everybody in his life and his job. He tried to stay out of trouble and lead a good life.”
Paul, who worked for a furniture company in Winnipeg, cared for his wife, Victoria, while she had health problems in the final years of her life.
The RCMP called Dirsa’s mother Tuesday to notify her of the arrest. The family is waiting to learn what happened and why.
Paul, originally from B.C., was known for wearing plaid shirts and cowboy hats and boots, Dirsa said. A “homebody,” he liked to listen to Johnny Cash songs and play computer games.
“He was really funny. He was always trying to make other people laugh,” said Dirsa, who lives in Alberta.
The wide-ranging investigation began when a concerned co-worker contacted Winnipeg police and requested a well-being check Aug. 7, 2020. Paul had failed to come to work and couldn’t be reached for a number of days, Lasson said.
Paul’s vehicle was found on Aug. 10, torched on Queen Street in Winnipeg, near Polo Park shopping centre, which elevated investigators’ concerns, Lasson said.
Paul had last been seen in a Neepawa liquor store on Aug. 1 accompanied by two people. On Oct. 14, RCMP publicly called for tips on the identities of the unknown pair.
Police later released photos of two people who were in the Winnipeg neighbourhood where Paul’s car was burned, including an image of a man who appeared to be discarding something in a garbage bin.
On Dec. 17, RCMP and Winnipeg police publicly identified two primary suspects in the homicide: a 36-year-old woman and a 39-year-old man.
Lasson confirmed Thursday the male suspect identified in 2020 was Mousseau.
Investigators also established the suspects and Paul were acquaintances.
The woman was arrested on Dec. 20, 2020, and questioned but released without charges. Investigators are not expecting to lay additional charges in Paul’s slaying at this point, Lasson said.
Over the next year-and-a-half, investigators from the three police forces conducted interviews and followed up on tips from the public, while forensic evidence was sent for analysis at the RCMP laboratory in Ottawa and another lab in the United States.
The complicated investigation required the work of specialized police units, with significant assistance from the Manitoba First Nations Police Service, the superintendent said.
Lasson would not speak about the specifics of the forensic evidence (to protect police investigative techniques), but said it was significant enough to require the help of the unnamed American lab.
Court records reviewed by the Free Press show Mousseau was given a DNA order in 2018 upon a conviction for assault with a weapon, which meant a sample was inputted to the RCMP’s National DNA Data Bank.
The forensics, as well as the interviews, established Mousseau as the joint probe’s primary suspect, officials said, with enough evidence to support a first-degree murder charge — which indicates police believe the slaying was planned and deliberate.
The three agencies have remained tight-lipped about the circumstances and timeline of the killing.
Lasson would not reveal Thursday how they believe Paul was killed, what day he was killed or where it took place, other than to confirm it was in Manitoba. He would not comment when asked how many crime scenes police investigated and said little about how Paul’s vehicle was involved.
“The vehicle was significant, I will say that, in the investigation, and we do have the vehicle on surveillance going throughout Manitoba with these three individuals,” he told reporters.
Investigators are still working to establish motive, Lasson said.
Mousseau (who is also identified in court records by the surname Abigosis) is originally from Pine Creek First Nation, court heard during his 2018 sentencing for an assault with a weapon.
He was given a 10-year weapons prohibition and a total of 15 months in custody for the incident on May 18, 2017, in which he briefly pulled an airsoft gun from his waistband at a St. Vital mall while intoxicated as another person fled with shoplifted goods.
Court heard Mousseau had been dealing with underlying issues and began using methamphetamine in the year leading up to the incident, but was seeking programming to help deal with his addiction while incarcerated. At the time, he had been married for three years to his long-time partner, with whom he had six children.
Mousseau’s criminal record includes convictions for robbery, mischief under $5,000, and possessing a prohibited weapon.
At the time of his arrest Tuesday, he had charges pending in three municipalities for incidents in the past year.
As a general assignment reporter, Chris covers a little bit of everything for the Free Press.
Erik Pindera reports for the city desk, with a particular focus on crime and justice.