The man suspected of killing 17-year-old Jaime Adao – police call it a random, methamphetamine-fuelled home invasion – had a lengthy history with the criminal justice system and was twice charged with breach of probation in the months leading up to the fatal encounter.
Ronald Chubb, 29, is the suspect in the March 3 slaying of Adao. He remains in hospital in critical condition after police fired multiple rounds to end the fatal attack.
Winnipeg Police Service chief Danny Smyth said Friday that Chubb is expected to survive his injuries. When his condition improves, police plan to charge him with murder, Smyth said.
Adao was home with his grandmother at his family's residence on the 700 block of McGee Street when an intruder broke into the house. The teenager called 911 and operators remained on the line throughout the attack until officers arrived on scene and opened fire.
The homicide – Winnipeg’s sixth of seven reported slayings in 2019 so far – is believed to mark the first time an innocent bystander has been killed by violence linked to the city’s ongoing meth crisis.
Court records show Chubb has a lengthy history of theft and break-and-enter to fuel his drug habit. He’s been in and out of jail, a cycle perpetuated by his fetal-alcohol spectrum disorder and addictions.
Manitoba judges have repeatedly called attention to Chubb’s low cognitive functioning and how easy it is for him to fall in with the wrong crowd, despite the fact he’s been given long-term FASD support and access to disability services.
In August 2018, seven months before he’s suspected to have killed Adao, Chubb landed in front of provincial court judge Tracey Lord.
Chubb admitted to assaulting a police officer at a time he was already wanted for violating his probation, the final portion of one of the many jail sentences he has served for breaking into apartment buildings.
By then, jail had become a normal part of Chubb’s life and Lord sentenced him to an additional seven months. As she imposed the sentence, Lord said nothing has worked to stop Chubb’s chronic re-offending.
"It is clear that what has been tried with Mr. Chubb in the past has not worked to achieve his rehabilitation. By that I mean both incarcerating him for short or long periods of time or by offering him community resources in the downtown area of Winnipeg," Lord said.
"I obviously acknowledge the community is entitled to be protected from Mr. Chubb’s criminal behaviour. The situation is simple to remedy that – when he is locked up in jail, he cannot victimize anyone, but no matter how long the jail sentence is... it is not a solution that addresses the future."
He was subsequently charged with breaching the terms of his probation in January and February, 2019.
“We have to take a hard look at what is happening. I think for a long time people put their heads in the sand and thought, ‘It’s not my problem.’ But it is society’s problem. It’s a school problem. It’s a family problem. It’s a criminal justice problem" – Karen Wiebe
At past sentencing hearings, Chubb’s lawyer, Brett Gladstone, said his client’s IQ is below 70 and he’s legally considered a vulnerable person. Gladstone did not respond to requests for comment Monday.
Chubb was born in God’s Lake First Nation and moved to Winnipeg with his mother when he was nine. Shortly afterwards, he was taken into the custody of Child and Family Services due to his mother’s alcoholism.
When he was 13, he saw his 15-year-old brother, John Chubb, beaten to death with a baseball bat in the city’s West End.
Karen Wiebe, whose son TJ Wiebe, 20, was beaten and strangled, then left to die in a field on Jan. 5, 2003 by a group of people high on meth, said it was only a matter of time before the ongoing meth crisis in Winnipeg claimed an innocent bystander.
"It’s a miracle there isn’t more death because of meth. There’s so much violence that’s associated with it. It is simply just a matter of time because something else happens and someone else is seriously injured or killed," Wiebe said.
In the years since her son’s murder, Wiebe and her late husband Floyd founded the non-profit TJ’s Gift Foundation, aimed at helping young people avoid involvement with drugs. Wiebe is also involved with advocacy work for families of homicide victims.
She said she believes there needs to be sweeping, systemic changes to the criminal justice system in Canada, as well as to the services available for those struggling with poverty, addiction and mental illness.
"TJ was involved with meth 16 years ago and here we are in 2019 and we have an explosion on our hands. So clearly our efforts haven’t been overly successful over that time," Wiebe said.
"We have to take a hard look at what is happening. I think for a long time people put their heads in the sand and thought, ‘It’s not my problem.’ But it is society’s problem. It’s a school problem. It’s a family problem. It’s a criminal justice problem.
"We have to really start to attack this issue. It’s not going away."
– With files from Katie May
Ryan Thorpe likes the pace of daily news, the feeling of a broadsheet in his hands and the stress of never-ending deadlines hanging over his head.
Updated on Monday, March 11, 2019 at 6:21 PM CDT: Updates headline
9:30 PM: Updates