Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard

Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.

Since covering his first trial for the Brandon Sun in 1999, Pritchard has logged more time in a courtroom than many of the veteran lawyers whose cases he has followed.

After leaving Brandon, Pritchard spent 12 years on the court beat for the Winnipeg Sun, returning to the beat in 2019 after a brief stint as a Free Press copy editor.

In covering cases that often capture people at their lowest, Pritchard strives for fairness and accuracy, without sacrificing the humanity at the core of the stories. In the words of one of his favourite literary gumshoes, Harry Bosch, “Everybody counts or nobody counts.”

When not running from one courtroom to another, Pritchard has been pepper-sprayed by police, spent an afternoon as a shopping mall Santa, jumped out of a perfectly good airplane and chugged a six-pack before noon to help Mounties test their new roadside screening device — all in the service of (he hopes) a good story. It’s a living.

In his off hours, Pritchard enjoys plucking away at his six string while trying to memorize all 14 verses of The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Pritchard believes a great hat always beats a great haircut and that writing about oneself in the third person is a bit… weird.

Editors told Pritchard his bio should be at least 250 words, but as readers may have noticed, he’s not one to run off at the mouth.

Recent articles of Dean Pritchard

CFS fails to get girl to court for trial of man charged with sexually assaulting her

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

CFS fails to get girl to court for trial of man charged with sexually assaulting her

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Yesterday at 6:02 PM CDT

The trial of a Manitoba man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl had to be adjourned last week after the child-welfare agency responsible for her care failed to get her to court.

The incident marked the second time in two weeks that the Cree Nation Child and Family Caring Agency “had issues” ensuring the attendance of a child witness in court, Crown attorney Jennifer Malabar told provincial court Judge Todd Rambow at a hearing last Wednesday in The Pas.

“The Crown has significant concerns about what is going on,” Malabar said.

The girl was to be the lone witness in the trial. The accused man is charged with sexual assault with a weapon for an offence alleged to have occurred when the girl was 15.

Yesterday at 6:02 PM CDT

The trial of a Manitoba man accused of sexually assaulting a 15-year-old girl had to be adjourned last week after the child-welfare agency responsible for her care failed to get her to court.

The incident marked the second time in two weeks that the Cree Nation Child and Family Caring Agency “had issues” ensuring the attendance of a child witness in court, Crown attorney Jennifer Malabar told provincial court Judge Todd Rambow at a hearing last Wednesday in The Pas.

“The Crown has significant concerns about what is going on,” Malabar said.

The girl was to be the lone witness in the trial. The accused man is charged with sexual assault with a weapon for an offence alleged to have occurred when the girl was 15.

No parole for 12 years for 2020 murder

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

No parole for 12 years for 2020 murder

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

A Winnipeg man responsible for the drug house slaying of 24-year-old Vincent Ross was sentenced Friday to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 12 years.

Christian Bruce previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the March 16, 2020, killing inside a College Avenue gang den.

“Mr. Bruce’s case is a tragic and all- too-often seen circumstance of an Indigenous male with gang ties and serious addiction issues killing another Indigenous male with gang ties and addiction issues,” said Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Turner.

Turner stressed it will be up to parole officials to decide if Bruce is ever released from prison, noting he is accused of “waterboarding” another inmate while in custody on the murder charge.

Friday, Aug. 5, 2022

JESSE BOILY / FREE PRESS FILES

Christian Bruce admitted shooting Vincent Ross at a College Avenue apartment but claimed he did not intend to kill him.

Anti-lockdown quintuple lose charter challenge ahead of trial

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Anti-lockdown quintuple lose charter challenge ahead of trial

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

Five alleged pandemic scofflaws set to stand trial later this month will not be able to argue Manitoba public health orders violated their charter rights, a judge has ruled.

“This decision in no way affects your presumption of innocence,” provincial court Judge Victoria Cornick told the accused at a hearing Tuesday.

Cornick, the same judge set to preside over the trial, sided with the Crown, who in a motion last month to dismiss the challenge argued the charter right issue had already been settled in an October ruling by Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.

Cornick said she has not pre-decided the case, and the Crown will still be held to a standard of proof beyond a reasonable doubt.

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

DANIEL CRUMP / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Retiree and COVID-19 lockdown opponent Gerry Bohemier (pictured), Hugs over Masks organizer Sharon Vickner, anti-lockdown rally organizers Todd McDougall and Patrick Allard, and Church of God (Restoration) pastor Tobias Tissen were individually charged for alleged repeated violations of public health orders.

Killer tells court he thinks about friend, can’t explain why he pulled trigger

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Killer tells court he thinks about friend, can’t explain why he pulled trigger

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

In the midst of a meth binge, Christian Bruce aimed a sawed-off rifle at the head of a man he considered a friend and shot him dead.

More than two years later, Bruce told a court Tuesday he thinks about Vincent Ross every day but could offer no explanation why he took his life.

“I know no matter how many times I apologize I won’t bring him back,” he told a court gallery crowded with Ross’s family members. “I don’t deserve forgiveness.… Because of my actions, you lost someone very important to you. There is no justification for what I did.”

Bruce, 30, stood trial for first-degree murder in the March 16, 2020 killing but on the second day of testimony last fall admitted to second-degree murder in a plea bargain with the Crown.

Wednesday, Aug. 3, 2022

JESSE BOILY / FREE PRESS FILES

Christian Bruce admitted shooting Vincent Ross at a College Avenue apartment known to be a street-gang drug house but claimed he did not intend to kill him.

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Man pleads guilty to manslaughter

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Friday, Jul. 29, 2022

Nevis Carter and Oghenetega Ufuoma didn’t know each other, but they had a couple of things in common: each struggled with mental illness and were living on the street.

When Carter and Ufuoma crossed paths in the early morning hours of Nov. 18, Ufuoma was hunkered with all his belongings in his “makeshift home” – an Osborne Village bus shelter, Crown attorney Andrew Slough told court recently.

It was a meeting that would end in Ufuoma’s death, and the Nigerian immigrant’s body “callously” stuffed in a shopping cart.

“People sheltering or living in bus shacks is a sight that we see across the city,” Slough said. “So often, though, it’s a sight that we look away from, ignore, or even view as a nuisance… It’s all too easy to lose sight of the people who dwell in these shacks, the complexity of their lives, their humanity.”

Friday, Jul. 29, 2022

The bus shelter at River and Osborne where the attack occurred. (Jessica Lee / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Woman convicted in slaying of Bolivian immigrant

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Preview

Woman convicted in slaying of Bolivian immigrant

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

Chelsea O’Hanley claimed she had no idea Gerhard Reimer-Wiebe’s battered body was in the trunk of her SUV when she drove three people — now convicted in his murder — to Portage la Prairie in June 2020.

But that was just another in a constellation of lies she “concocted” in an effort to hide her involvement in the grisly killing, a judge said Wednesday.

“The degree of deception is off the charts,” said Queen’s Bench Justice Ken Champagne, who convicted the 26-year-old woman of second-degree murder, accessory to murder after the fact, and indignity to human remains.

Reimer-Wiebe’s widow, Anna, sat stoically on one side of the crowded court gallery, and O’Hanley on the other, each appearing to listen intently as Champagne read from his 102-page decision. O’Hanley shook her head from side to side as Champagne found her guilty on all charges.

Wednesday, Jul. 27, 2022

SUPPLIED

Clockwise from top left: Jonathan Bradley Narvey, Bobby Lynn Hall, Chelsea O’Hanley and Kyle Sinkovits.

Court dismisses charter challenge in 2021 double homicide case

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Court dismisses charter challenge in 2021 double homicide case

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Friday, Jul. 22, 2022

A Steinbach man arrested in the slaying of an elderly couple has been dealt a legal blow in his charter challenge to quash a move to bring him to trial without the benefit of a preliminary hearing.

Karlton Dean Reimer, 28, is charged with two counts of second-degree murder in the March 2021 stabbing deaths of 77-year-old Dennis Lidgett and his wife Bernadette Lidgett, 73, at their home near Lorette.

Crown prosecutors are proceeding by direct indictment, meaning the case will go straight to trial without a preliminary hearing.

Preliminary hearings are held in provincial court, after which a judge rules whether there is sufficient evidence to bring the case to trial.

Friday, Jul. 22, 2022

Dennis and Bernadette Lidgett, pictured after a family hike in Rushing River Provincial Park, one of their favourite camping spots. The couple was killed in their home last year. (Supplied)

Three charged in stabbing of Ukrainian refugee at The Forks

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Preview

Three charged in stabbing of Ukrainian refugee at The Forks

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Friday, Jul. 22, 2022

Two men and a youth have been arrested for the stabbing of a refugee from Ukraine at The Forks earlier this month.

After poring through hours of CCTV surveillance footage and interviewing witnesses, investigators were able to identify suspects and arrest them on Wednesday and Thursday, Winnipeg police said on Friday.

Two refugees from Ukraine were walking near the Canadian Museum for Human Rights when they told witnesses they had accidentally bumped into three men on July 1 at about 10:40 p.m.

Despite apologizing, both were bear sprayed and one was stabbed.

Friday, Jul. 22, 2022

The two Ukrainian refugees were attacked on this stretch of Israel Asper Way on Canada Day. (Mike Sudoma / Winnipeg Free Press files)

No trial date, no comment: family accused of staged hate crime left Canada in 2020

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

No trial date, no comment: family accused of staged hate crime left Canada in 2020

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2022

Nearly two years after vowing they wanted “their day in court,” three members of a Winnipeg family accused of staging a hate crime at their now-defunct River Heights restaurant remain outside the grasp of Manitoba prosecutors.

Alexander and Oxana Berent and their son, Maxim Berent, were charged with public mischief after alleging their Corydon Avenue restaurant, BerMax Caffé and Bistro, had been the target of four antisemitic attacks in 2019.

Arguing they had no financial supports in the city and were being ostracized by the local religious community, the three accused were given court approval to relocate to Los Angeles in January 2020, with the expectation they would return to Winnipeg for trial the following October.

Wednesday, Jul. 20, 2022

THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES/John Woods

Crown appeals decision of police entrapment

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Preview

Crown appeals decision of police entrapment

Dean Pritchard 2 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2022

Prosecutors are appealing a judge’s decision striking down a Manitoba man’s conviction for luring a minor over the internet.

Michael Lymych, 36, was arrested in 2019, as part of a Winnipeg Police Service investigation, called Project Hook, which targeted the online luring of minors.

Queen’s Bench Justice Jeffrey Harris convicted Lymych after trial of one count of luring and making sexually explicit material available to a minor. However, in a ruling last month, Harris quashed the convictions after finding police had entrapped Lymych.

In a notice of appeal filed July 15, Crown prosecutors argue Harris “erred in his application of the law of entrapment.” Court documents do not detail the error or errors alleged by the Crown.

Tuesday, Jul. 19, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
In a notice of appeal filed July 15, Crown prosecutors argue Queen’s Bench Justice Jeffrey Harris “erred in his application of the law of entrapment.” Court documents do not detail the error or errors alleged by the Crown.

Ex-staffer sues Headingley jail over alleged sexual assault

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Ex-staffer sues Headingley jail over alleged sexual assault

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Monday, Jul. 18, 2022

A Winnipeg woman has filed a lawsuit against Headingley Correctional Centre, claiming jail officials knew her co-worker had a history of sexual harassment when he allegedly sexually assaulted her as they worked an overnight shift together.

Former correctional officer Narada Hines is named as a defendant in a statement of claim filed in Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench last week. Hines, 42, is set to stand trial in September on a single count of sexual assault.

“Hines’ employment provided the opportunity to commit the assault on the plaintiff,” the statement of claim alleges. “The plaintiff had previously advised her superiors that Hines’ conduct toward her was inappropriate and unwelcome, but Hines and the plaintiff were nonetheless scheduled to work an overnight shift in close proximity to each other.”

Monday, Jul. 18, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
The Headingley Correctional Institute in Headingley.

Crown blocks challenge by anti-lockdown protesters

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Crown blocks challenge by anti-lockdown protesters

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Friday, Jul. 15, 2022

Five Manitobans set to stand trial next month for repeatedly violating pandemic restrictions were in court Friday as Crown officials tried to block their charter challenge of the charges.

Retiree and lockdown opponent Gerry Bohemier, Hugs over Masks organizer Sharon Vickner, anti-lockdown rally organizers Todd McDougall and Patrick Allard, and Church of God (Restoration) pastor Tobias Tissen were individually charged for alleged repeated violations of public health orders involving outdoor gatherings between November 2020 and May 2021.

The five co-defendants have filed notices of application arguing their arrests were in violation of their charter right to assembly.

The Crown countered with its own motion to dismiss the defence motion, arguing before provincial court Judge Victoria Cornick on Friday that the issue had already been settled in an October ruling by Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal.

Friday, Jul. 15, 2022

MIKAELA MACKENZIE / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
Anti-lockdown rally organizers Todd McDougall is anti-lockdown protesters individually charged for alleged repeated violations of public health orders involving outdoor gatherings between November 2020 and May 2021.

‘Victimization of children spanned the globe’: Crown seeks 22 years for internet luring, child porn

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

‘Victimization of children spanned the globe’: Crown seeks 22 years for internet luring, child porn

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022

The arrest of a Winnipeg sex predator uncovered a network of abuse that spanned the globe and victimized hundreds of children, a court heard Wednesday.

Kenneth Emerson’s arrest in July 2020 led to the discovery of tens of thousands of pages of internet chat room logs in which he manipulated child victims into performing sex acts for him.

“The chats discovered on the accused’s phone revealed that the accused had directly victimized hundreds of children, created and distributed child sexual abuse material, and tried to assist other like-minded offenders in connecting with children to abuse in their jurisdiction,” Crown attorney Katie Dojack told provincial court Judge Wanda Garreck.

“These chats show that the accused’s online victimization of children spanned the globe and included children in the U.K., Canada, Australia, Italy, USA, New Zealand, Ireland, Romania, Guatemala and Sweden.”

Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES

Judge rules man’s rights violated, but upholds sentence

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Preview

Judge rules man’s rights violated, but upholds sentence

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022

WINNIPEG police violated a city man’s charter rights when they denigrated his sexual orientation during an interrogation, but that’s not enough to overturn his convictions for sexually abusing three nephews, Manitoba’s highest court has ruled.

The 60-year-old man was convicted of three counts of sexual interference and two counts of invitation to sexual touching. He was sentenced last year to 10 years in prison.

The man — who is not being named to protect the identity of his victims — appealed his conviction, and asked for a stay on all charges. He argued then-Det. Sgt. Elton Hall (now an inspector with the major crimes unit) was abusive and insulting during an interrogation that denigrated his sexual orientation and called into question his relationship with his husband.

“Det. Sgt. Hall’s conduct was a serious departure from the expected standard and undermined the integrity of the justice system, constituting a (charter breach),” Manitoba Court of Appeal Justice Karen Simonsen said in a written ruling.

Wednesday, Jul. 13, 2022

The Law Courts building in Winnipeg (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Judge cites intoxication, brain injury in manslaughter conviction

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Judge cites intoxication, brain injury in manslaughter conviction

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

A Pukatawagan man who admitted beating a 22-year-old woman to death with a rock has been found not guilty of second-degree murder after a judge ruled he was so impaired by alcohol he could not form the intent to kill.

In a decision released last month, Queen’s Bench Justice James Edmond convicted 24-year-old August Thunder Caribou of the lesser offence of manslaughter in the June 24, 2020, killing of Treena Castel.

“I am not satisfied that the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was able to form the specific intent to kill Ms. Castel,” Edmond said.

Caribou killed Castel the same day he graduated high school and four days after finishing his last shift working as a guard at the Pukatawagan RCMP detachment.

Tuesday, Jul. 12, 2022

A Pukatawagan man who admitted beating a 22-year-old woman to death with a rock has been found not guilty of second-degree murder after a judge ruled he was so impaired by alcohol he could not form the intent to kill.

In a decision released last month, Queen’s Bench Justice James Edmond convicted 24-year-old August Thunder Caribou of the lesser offence of manslaughter in the June 24, 2020, killing of Treena Castel.

“I am not satisfied that the Crown has proven beyond a reasonable doubt that the accused was able to form the specific intent to kill Ms. Castel,” Edmond said.

Caribou killed Castel the same day he graduated high school and four days after finishing his last shift working as a guard at the Pukatawagan RCMP detachment.

Assailant given 4½ years for ‘brutal’ attack

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Assailant given 4½ years for ‘brutal’ attack

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

A judge has sentenced a Winnipeg man to 4 1/2 years in prison for a fatal attack on a stranger.

Derrik Lawrence Edward Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for an unprovoked attack on 24-year-old Denzel Constant, on Oct. 12, 2020, that resulted in his death a day later from a catastrophic brain injury.

“Mr. Smith’s actions were… brutal and brazen,” Queen’s Bench Justice Sadie Bond said Thursday. “This is callous street violence and is totally unacceptable in our community.”

Constant and a friend were walking on Salter Street near Burrows Avenue around 8:30 p.m. when Smith and another man approached them and demanded Constant surrender his backpack. When he did, Smith struck Constant in the head with the backpack, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk. Inside the backpack were a glass bong and metal canteen.

Saturday, Jul. 2, 2022

A judge has sentenced a Winnipeg man to 4 1/2 years in prison for a fatal attack on a stranger.

Derrik Lawrence Edward Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for an unprovoked attack on 24-year-old Denzel Constant, on Oct. 12, 2020, that resulted in his death a day later from a catastrophic brain injury.

“Mr. Smith’s actions were… brutal and brazen,” Queen’s Bench Justice Sadie Bond said Thursday. “This is callous street violence and is totally unacceptable in our community.”

Constant and a friend were walking on Salter Street near Burrows Avenue around 8:30 p.m. when Smith and another man approached them and demanded Constant surrender his backpack. When he did, Smith struck Constant in the head with the backpack, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk. Inside the backpack were a glass bong and metal canteen.

No parole for 20 years for 2020 torture, murder

Dean Pritchard 6 minute read Preview

No parole for 20 years for 2020 torture, murder

Dean Pritchard 6 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

Born in Bolivia, Gerhard Reimer-Wiebe and his young wife moved to Canada in hopes of building a better life, only to have their dreams dashed in the most horrifying way.

After settling in the Steinbach area, Reimer-Wiebe, struggling with life in a new country and raising a young family, turned to alcohol and drugs.

“I was completely at rock bottom,” Reimer-Wiebe said in a 2018 video recorded for Teen Challenge, a faith-based counselling service he leaned on for help with his addictions.

Reimer-Wiebe rebounded for a time, but relapsed, and by June 2020, the 27-year-old man was staying in a Winnipeg home.

Wednesday, Jun. 29, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
One of the killers Kyle Evan Sinkovits pleaded guilty earlier this year to second-degree murder and was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison with no chance of parole for 20 years.

Sex convictions quashed: judge finds man entrapped by police

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Sex convictions quashed: judge finds man entrapped by police

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2022

A Winnipeg man found guilty of luring a minor over the Plenty of Fish dating website has had his convictions quashed after a judge ruled police had entrapped him.

Michael Joseph Lymych was convicted last year after being tried for internet luring and making sexually explicit material available to a minor.

Lymych, 36, was arrested as part of a Winnipeg Police Service investigation, Project Hook, which targeted the online luring of minors.

Following his conviction, Lymych applied for a judicial stay, alleging an abuse of process by police. Lymych argued police had no reason to believe he would commit a crime, and but for the actions of an undercover police officer posing as a 14-year-old girl, he would not have been induced to commit one.

Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2022

The Law Courts building in Winnipeg (Mike Deal / Winnipeg Free Press files)

Woman accused of assault on toddler loses custody appeal

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Woman accused of assault on toddler loses custody appeal

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Monday, Jun. 27, 2022

A woman accused of seriously injuring a baby at her unlicensed daycare has lost a court fight for custody of her own child.

In a written ruling released last week, the Court of Appeal of Manitoba upheld a family court decision awarding sole custody of her seven-year-old son to her ex-husband.

The 40-year-old woman was charged with aggravated assault in June 2019, after a six-month-old boy suffered multiple and life-altering head injuries while allegedly at her unlicensed daycare.

“We are not persuaded that the trial judge made any error that would allow us to interfere with his decision,” Justice Chris Mainella wrote on behalf of the appeal court.

Monday, Jun. 27, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
A woman accused of seriously injuring a baby at her unlicensed daycare has lost a court fight for custody of her own child.

Police HQ contractor accused of altering invoices to settle old debts

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

Police HQ contractor accused of altering invoices to settle old debts

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 24, 2022

Caspian Construction, the company at the centre of a city lawsuit involving the beleaguered Winnipeg police headquarters project, altered invoices to settle old debts with its subcontractors, newly filed court documents allege.

“In short, there are many irregularities in the Caspian defendant’s invoicing and the payment of subtrade invoices on the (project),” City of Winnipeg lawyers Michael Finlayson and Gabrielle Lisi alleged in a motion brief filed on June 14.

“They appeared to settle debts with subtrades from prior projects by altering invoices with or without subtrade involvement, and submitting them to the city,” the lawyers wrote.

The headquarters project was budgeted at $137.1 million in 2011 and ballooned to $210 million by the time it was completed five years later.

Friday, Jun. 24, 2022

BORIS MINKEVICH / FREE PRESS FILES
After a lengthy RCMP investigation resulted in no charges, the city filed a lawsuit against Caspian Construction in January 2020, alleging the contractor and two dozen other defendants conspired and “schemed” to inflate the cost of the project for their own benefit.

Teen found guilty of murder in mother’s bludgeoning death

Dean Pritchard 6 minute read Preview

Teen found guilty of murder in mother’s bludgeoning death

Dean Pritchard 6 minute read Thursday, Jun. 23, 2022

In a courtroom crowded with family members, a Winnipeg teen was found guilty Wednesday night of bludgeoning his mother to death in her bed.

Jurors deliberated over 18 hours over two days before convicting the now 19-year-old man of second- degree murder late Thursday evening.

The 51-year-old victim was found dead in her bed March 26, 2019. Her son stood trial charged with first-degree murder.

Family members initially cheered in jubilation as the jury foreperson announced a finding of not guilty for first- degree murder, drowning out his announcement of a guilty verdict on the lesser charge. Family members’ joy quickly turned to tears and sobs as the guilty verdict was confirmed by the jury foreperson. The teen’s father held his head in his hand and cried as jury members were polled one by one to confirm their verdict.

Thursday, Jun. 23, 2022

THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES/John Woods

Like mother, like son when it comes to manslaughter

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Preview

Like mother, like son when it comes to manslaughter

Dean Pritchard 4 minute read Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2022

Less than a month after his mother was sentenced to prison for manslaughter, a Winnipeg man was in a Winnipeg courtroom Tuesday before the same judge to face punishment for the same charge.

Derrik Lawrence Edward Smith, 23, pleaded guilty to manslaughter for an unprovoked attack on 24-year-old Denzel Constant, on Oct. 12, 2020, that resulted in his death a day later from a catastrophic brain injury.

Court was told Constant and a friend were walking on Salter Street near Burrows Avenue around 8:30 p.m. when Smith and another man approached them and demanded Constant surrender his backpack. When he did, Smith struck Constant in the head with the backpack, causing him to fall to the ground and hit his head on the sidewalk.

Constant got to his feet, and with his friend walked to his apartment, a supportive housing unit operated by New Directions. After arriving home, Constant continued to be in significant pain and began suffering seizures, Crown attorney Bryton Moen told Queen’s Bench Justice Sadie Bond.

Wednesday, Jun. 22, 2022

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / THE CANADIAN PRESS FILES
Derrik Lawrence Edward Smith pleaded guilty to manslaughter for an unprovoked attack on Denzel Constant in 2020 that resulted in his death a day later from a brain injury.

Crown, defence clash in closing arguments for trial of teen accused of matricide

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Preview

Crown, defence clash in closing arguments for trial of teen accused of matricide

Dean Pritchard 5 minute read Monday, Jun. 20, 2022

LAWYERS for a Winnipeg teen accused of beating his mother to death as she slept alleged Monday prosecutors are “twisting” ordinary events into evidence of his guilt where none exists.

“They don’t have evidence (the 19-year-old accused) committed the crime, so they have to say it is impossible for someone else to have done it,” defence lawyer Matt Gould argued in a closing address to jurors. “Of course, it’s not impossible. We aren’t even close to that here.”

The 51-year-old victim was found bludgeoned to death in her bed March 26, 2019. Her son is charged with first-degree murder.

The Free Press is not naming the victim, as it would identify the accused, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Monday, Jun. 20, 2022

MIKE DEAL / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS
Jurors are expected to receive their final instructions from Queen’s Bench Justice Anne Turner and begin deliberations Wednesday.

House arrest for ex-Goldeye who assaulted ice-fisher

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Preview

House arrest for ex-Goldeye who assaulted ice-fisher

Dean Pritchard 3 minute read Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

A former draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, who had a brief stint with the Winnipeg Goldeyes, has been sentenced to two years of house arrest after a traffic stop ended with police chasing him onto a frozen lake and seizing a sawed-off shotgun.

David Allan Parker, 39, pleaded guilty to possession of a prohibited firearm, breaching a weapons prohibition order and assault in connection to his Jan. 1, 2020, arrest in Gimli.

Parker, who court was told struggled with drugs in the years after his baseball career slipped away, has shown “determination in staying sober,” stabilized his life and excelled at work since his arrest, said Queen’s Bench Justice Colleen Suche in a written ruling released earlier this month.

A three-year prison sentence is the accepted minimum sentence for offences involving firearms connected to criminal activity, Suche said. The Crown had recommended Suche sentence Parker to 42 months in prison.

Friday, Jun. 17, 2022

KEN GIGLIOTTI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS FILES
David Parker during the Goldeyes tryout camp in 2005.