Accused murderer given “a break” in previous theft, assault charges


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Eight months before he was arrested and charged in the slaying of a Winnipeg lawyer, Keishawn Letrell Mitchell promised a judge his short criminal career was over.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/07/2019 (1358 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Eight months before he was arrested and charged in the slaying of a Winnipeg lawyer, Keishawn Letrell Mitchell promised a judge his short criminal career was over.

“This is his first time before the court,” Mitchell’s lawyer, Katherine Dowle, told provincial court Judge Dale Schille at a sentencing hearing in October 2018.

“He’s indicated to me it will be the last time he finds himself before the court,” Dowle said. “He did not enjoy his time at Milner Ridge (Correctional Centre) and indicated he does not ever want to go back.”

Mitchell, 19, was arrested June 27 and charged with second-degree murder in the June 2 death of 32-year-old Justin Silicz.

Silicz was killed while walking with two friends to his car on Arlington Street, at about 4:30 a.m. His group had encountered another group of three men just prior to the attack.

Winnipeg police have said investigators believe the attack was random and a weapon was involved, but have released no details.

Mitchell pleaded guilty in October to two counts of theft, and one count each of assault, possession of a weapon, and breaching a court order he abstain from drugs, in connection with a spate of offences committed between December 2017 and April 2018, when he was 18 years old.

Court heard Mitchell and two other males entered an Ellice Avenue convenience store on Dec. 5, 2017, and Mitchell directed racial slurs at the store owners. Told to leave, Mitchell grabbed a bag of candy, while a co-accused tossed a pile of lottery forms on the floor. A male employee pursued the group outside and during a confrontation was struck by one of the suspects.

Police arrested Mitchell a short time later at a nearby nightclub.

Mitchell was arrested a second time in April 2018, after he assaulted a staff member at Across the Board Game Café and stole his cellphone.

In July 2018, Mitchell was arrested after he was found in possession of a folding knife.

“He recognizes how stupid these offences are: he’s stealing candy and ending up in custody,” Dowle told the court in October.

Mitchell graduated from Gordon Bell High School in Winnipeg, and had a “fairly decent upbringing,” with supportive parents, Dowle said.

“Everyone, including Mr. Mitchell, would like to see him making better decisions in the future going forward,” she said.

Schille sentenced Mitchell to the equivalent of 45 days served, and placed him on 12 months supervised probation.

The judge told Mitchell he was lucky he wasn’t charged with robbery, which would have invited a much harsher sentence.

“I hope you appreciate the fact that you are getting a break today and, hopefully, your behaviour in the community will reflect the break you received here.”

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.


Updated on Wednesday, July 3, 2019 10:34 PM CDT: Adds related items.

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