Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/10/2010 (3690 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A former member of the Canadian Navy has admitted to the brutal killing of a gay man he picked up at a downtown Winnipeg bar in a case originally thought to be a hate crime.
Morris Richard McConnell, 59, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder Tuesday for the March 2008 stabbing and beating death of Kelvin Osborne. He was given the mandatory minimum sentence of life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
Osborne, 42, was attacked moments after propositioning McConnell for sex and seductively dancing in front of him while they were together inside his West Broadway apartment suite, court was told.
"He was trying to turn me into some kind of fa****," a blood-soaked McConnell told neighbouring tenants who saw the aftermath of the slaying.
Despite those comments, Crown and defence lawyers said Tuesday they no longer consider the murder to be motivated by Osborne’s sexual orientation. They said McConnell was confused about his own status and admits to inviting Osborne back to his place when they met earlier that night inside the lounge at the Sherbrook Inn.
"His own (sexual) orientation issues may have put him in a position where this event occurred," prosecutor Scott Cooper told Queen’s Bench Justice Glenn Joyal. "This was an act that was committed as a result of self-loathing."
McConnell admits to drinking and smoking marijuana in the hours preceding the attack and claims to have little memory of that night. He admitted to striking Osborne numerous times with a hammer in the head and face and slashing his neck with a knife.
"We will probably never know what led to this tragedy," said defence lawyer John McAmmond. McConnell then went to his neighbour’s suite and told them "I think I’ve done something bad." He waited with Osborne in the suite until police and emergency responders arrived.
Osborne was still breathing when paramedics got to the scene but died in hospital hours later.
"The act itself is so vicious and so purposeful that it really defies rational explanation," Joyal said, adding the case has an element of "gruesome brutality" to it.
Osborne was an openly homosexual man who went by the street name of "Rose", court was told. He was the younger brother of Helen Betty Osborne, a 19-year-old woman who was kidnapped off the street in The Pas in 1971. She was then raped and stabbed more than 50 times before her body was dumped in the bush outside the northern Manitoba city.
Four white men were finally charged with her killing in 1987, but only one was convicted. Dwayne Archie Johnston was found guilty of second-degree murder and given a life sentence with no chance of parole for 10 years, which he successfully applied for.
The case eventually led to a comprehensive review of Manitoba’s justice system and its treatment of aboriginal people. A formal apology from the provincial justice minister came several years later.
Cooper said Tuesday this latest tragedy to hit the Osborne family has left deep, emotional wounds.
"I am unbelievably upset with myself over this whole incident," McConnell said in a brief statement to the court. "I apologize to the Osborne family for the grief that I’ve caused."