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Accused was writing about his hard life to guide others

Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 25/6/2012 (2839 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Shawn Lamb was in the process of writing a revealing tell-all book about his troubled past, claiming he wanted to help steer vulnerable individuals away from making the same mistakes he'd made.

But police allege the career criminal began adding a much darker chapter to his life this past year -- that of an accused serial killer on the hunt for young Winnipeg women.

"It's come true, one of my worst nightmares. I'm old and in jail," Lamb, now 52, told a Winnipeg courtroom during a May 2010 sentencing hearing. Lamb had just pleaded guilty to 15 more crimes, increasing his total to 99 over a 30-year span.

The Free Press reviewed a transcript of the proceedings on Monday -- the day Winnipeg police announced Lamb had been arrested and charged with three counts of second-degree murder in the deaths of three city women.

"The elements-for-life concept is something I've embraced," Lamb said, in explaining the working title of his inspirational book, which he was writing in custody. He even submitted examples of his writing for the judge to look at and said he'd been working closely with native elders and a chaplain behind bars to come up with a blueprint for success that he, and others, would follow.

"I am now in control of what I do, because I now know what it is that made me do the things I did do," Lamb said. "I don't want to do it anymore. I don't want to hurt anybody anymore. I want to take responsibility for what I've done, to use my writing skills in a positive way to help myself and others in the future."

Lamb was sentenced that day to 19 months in jail, in addition to nearly 14 months of time already served, plus three years of supervised probation. His crimes included mugging a young mother of her purse, threatening to stab another man for his beer, stealing a car and passing numerous bad cheques. He was on a conditional sentence at the time for a similar robbery in which he attacked a young mother for her bank card, flipping over a stroller carrying the victim's baby in the process.

Lamb was released from jail sometime in early 2011. He is alleged to have killed the three victims in the months that followed.

Lamb told court in 2010 all of his previous crimes had been committed to help feed a drug and alcohol addiction he'd been fighting since the age of nine -- when his adoptive parents first started forcing him to play the role of a "bartender" while they entertained other drunken guests in their home.

Provincial court Judge Linda Giesbrecht told Lamb she was impressed by his honesty -- and hopeful he had finally turned a corner following many previous attempts that ended with him back in jail.

"You're clearly an intelligent, well-spoken person. You have a gift in your writing and your speaking. It's really too bad you've wasted so many years of the potential that you had. I really hope you're sincere. You appear to be sincere, you appear to be genuine," said Giesbrecht. "You seem to have very good insight into your past behaviour. If you don't achieve what you hope to achieve when you get out next time, I think you've burned your bridges. Ultimately it is your choice."

The judge also expressed sympathy after hearing of Lamb's upbringing, which would be the focus of much of his writing.

"I appreciate you had a bad childhood and didn't have the benefits a child should have," said Giesbrecht.

Lamb was born as Darryl Dokis on a First Nation near Sarnia, Ont., to a 17-year-old single mother. He told court he was "ripped" away by social services at the age of 21/2 and put in foster care for a year before being sent to live with an adoptive white family near Sarnia.

His lawyer, Aaron Seib, said it was a terrible decision.

"It's clear his upbringing was fraught with physical abuse, mental abuse and sexual abuse. At a very young age he was abusing alcohol, drugs, whatever he can get his hands on. It's something he still struggles with," Seib told court.

Specifically, Lamb claimed he first drank alcohol at the age of nine and never looked back. He began running away from home at the age of 12, often spending long periods of time living on the streets of Toronto. He also began experimenting with mushrooms, acid, cocaine and heroin in his early teens and became hooked.

Lamb told court there were many times he wanted to end his own life, especially after he began committing crimes to support his habit. He also had stints in psychiatric care in Toronto.

"I felt really bad about what I'd done. I wanted to kill myself," he said.

Lamb also had several sexual relationships and became the father of three children, none of which he maintained any relationship with, court was told. They include two sons, aged 26 and 20 and a 18-year-old daughter.

Lamb said both his adoptive and biological parents were deceased, but he wanted to try to rebuild the non-existent relationship with his children plus other biological family members. He also expressed a desire to begin connecting with his aboriginal heritage.

Crown attorney Susan Helenchilde was skeptical about his chance of success.

"It remains to be seen how committed he really is. Hopefully he'll get the message this time around," she said.



Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre

Mike McIntyre grew up wanting to be a professional wrestler. But when that dream fizzled, he put all his brawn into becoming a professional writer.

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