July 10, 2020

Winnipeg
19° C, A few clouds

Full Forecast

Close this

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Body hidden under porch, court told

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 18/11/2019 (234 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Christophur Baur was bludgeoned, stabbed and strangled, before his body was hidden in the crawlspace underneath his alleged killer’s porch following a dispute over a drug debt, a Winnipeg jury was told Monday.

James Morris has pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder in the Jan. 3, 2015, slaying, arguing he was acting in self-defence.

Christophur Baur was killed in January 2015.</p>

Christophur Baur was killed in January 2015.

While the charge against Morris is a serious one, "this is a straightforward case," Crown attorney Mike Himmelman told jurors in a brief opening address.

Baur worked at a West End restaurant, but was also making money selling cocaine, jurors heard. The two men got into a fight at Morris’s Magnus Avenue home, with Morris bludgeoning Baur several times about the head and body, Himmelman said.

Morris, Himmelman alleged, tied Baur’s wrists, strangled him and stabbed him in the neck. Police discovered his body Feb. 15, 2015, wrapped in a blanket and plastic underneath Morris’s porch.

Police initially treated Baur’s disappearance as a missing-persons case, not a homicide, Winnipeg Police Service Const. Thomas Guenther testified.

Guenther said police learned on Jan. 12, 2015, that Baur was involved in the drug trade and had a second cellphone he allegedly used as a drug line.

Phone records showed no outgoing calls on either of Baur’s cellphones after Jan. 3, the last day he was seen alive. Morris, the records showed, called Baur three times that day, the last call coming in at 8:48 p.m. Morris consented to a police interview on Feb. 3, 2015.

"I knew there were a few phone calls between them, so I wanted to know what they talked about, I wanted to learn if he had seen (Baur) that evening — anything that could help me in the investigation," Guenther testified.

Guenther did not tell the jury what Morris told him but said he was released without charge at the end of a 35-minute interview.

Baur had addiction issues, Guenther said under cross-examination by defence lawyer Ian Histed, confirming four empty drug baggies were found in his bedroom following his death.

Histed alleged Baur had filed for bankruptcy in 2009 and suggested he owed money to his drug suppliers.

"You identified five to eight drug associates he was to meet (the night Baur was killed)," Histed said.

"The people I had spoken to didn’t bring up anything about money being owed," Guenther said.

The trial is set for two weeks. 

dean.pritchard@freepress.mb.ca

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
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.

Read full biography

Advertisement

Advertise With Us

Your support has enabled us to provide free access to stories about COVID-19 because we believe everyone deserves trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

Our readership has contributed additional funding to give Free Press online subscriptions to those that can’t afford one in these extraordinary times — giving new readers the opportunity to see beyond the headlines and connect with other stories about their community.

To those who have made donations, thank you.

To those able to give and share our journalism with others, please Pay it Forward.

The Free Press has shared COVID-19 stories free of charge because we believe everyone deserves access to trusted and critical information during the pandemic.

While we stand by this decision, it has undoubtedly affected our bottom line.

After nearly 150 years of reporting on our city, we don’t want to stop any time soon. With your support, we’ll be able to forge ahead with our journalistic mission.

If you believe in an independent, transparent, and democratic press, please consider subscribing today.

We understand that some readers cannot afford a subscription during these difficult times and invite them to apply for a free digital subscription through our Pay it Forward program.

The Winnipeg Free Press is not accepting comments on this story.

Why aren't comments accepted on this story? See our Commenting Terms and Conditions.

Advertisement

Advertise With Us