Man guilty of killing 28-year-old woman as she slept
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A Winnipeg man has been found guilty in the September 2019 killing and torture of a woman he had accused of being “a rat.”
Court of King’s Bench Justice Brenda Keyser convicted Jesse Gamblin of second-degree murder in the killing of 28-year-old Norma Andrews, following a trial earlier this year.
Court heard evidence Gamblin attacked Andrews as she slept at a Balmoral Street drug house, saying she was a “rat” and “deserved to die.”
Gamblin appeared in court Wednesday via video, as he is being held in custody in Alberta. He will be sentenced at a later date following the completion of court-ordered reports.
The minimum sentence for second-degree murder is life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
The case against Gamblin rested heavily on the testimony of two female witnesses who were in the house. While their testimony and recall differed on several points, they both identified Gamblin as the killer and had no reason to lie, Keyser said.
“The accounts of (the witnesses) were not identical, which is not surprising, but at the end of the day, despite their difficulty with recall and detail, there is no suggestion that they were mistaken,” Keyser said.
“There is no suggestion that someone else was responsible for the murder of Andrews, and there was no suggestion that either (witness) had any axe to grind against Gamblin,” she said.
The two witnesses cannot be identified due to a publication ban imposed to protect their safety.
An autopsy found Andrews bled to death after suffering multiple “sharp force” and “blunt force” injuries to her head, neck, back and arms. Andrews had been beaten with a bat, strangled, and two of her fingers were cut off.
The fatal wound, a long, deep cut to her neck that severed her carotid artery “was consistent with having been inflicted by a machete,” chief medical examiner Dr. John Younes testified.
One witness testified she had been drinking and smoking meth in an upstairs suite when Gamblin, who had arrived a short time earlier, put Andrews in a chokehold as she was lying down on a bed. Gamblin called her a rat, beat her with a bat and machete and said she “deserved to die,” the woman testified.
The woman said she and several other people fled from the suite, but she returned a short time later to retrieve her cellphone, and heard Gamblin say: “It’s over.”
Another witness and tenant in the house — who did not testify but whose evidence was provided to court by way of an agreed statement of facts — said she later saw the same woman and a man she could not identify with gas cans in the suite where Andrews was killed.
Another woman testified she was on the bed beside Andrews when Gamblin attacked her.
“I know it was him, because I was there when it happened,” she told court.
Prosecutors alleged Gamblin returned to the house later that afternoon to clean up the murder scene. He was arrested by police who were responding to a 911 call.
At the time he was arrested, Gamblin was on bail for a machete attack on a female friend who had been sleeping.
Court heard at a May 2019 bail hearing that Gamblin was high on methamphetamine when he picked up a machete and attacked a friend who had at times offered him refuge.
The assault only ended after the victim escaped through a broken bedroom window. She suffered 10 stab wounds to her chest, torso, hands and pelvis, requiring 20 staples and five stitches.
Gamblin was convicted of aggravated assault in October 2020 and sentenced to four years in prison.
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.