Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

17 year old teen found GUILTY of three counts of first degree murder and three counts of attempted murder

IT was one of the most violent attacks in Winnipeg history. And now a teenager has been convicted of his role in a bloody house party ambush that left three people dead and another three seriously injured.

A teenager has been convicted for his role in a bloody house party ambush that left three people dead and another three seriously injured.
The 17-year-old - who can’t be named because he was 15 at the time of the March 2008 shooting spree – was found guilty Wednesday night of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Jurors reached their verdict around 9 p.m. after beginning deliberations in the late afternoon. The clean-cut youth, clad in a dark suit, showed no emotion as he stood in the prisoner’s box and learned his fate.
Sentencing has been adjourned until later this spring. The Crown is expected to seek an adult penalty for the boy, which would allow for a much longer prison term and could clear the way for his name to be published. He remains in custody.
The Crown’s case took only six days and was based largely on the evidence of a controversial key witness. Howard Roulette, 27, testified last week that he drove a getaway car from the shooting after the teenager and an adult co-accused, Colton Patchinose, held a gun to his head and ordered him to stay outside the Alexander Avenue home.
Scott Lavallee, 31, Jennifer Ward, 26, and Corey Keeper, 22, died after being struck at close range by at least eight of the 19 bullets that were fired that night by two masked gunmen. Family members of the victims were in court Wednesday night but declined to comment.
Defence lawyer Ryan Rolston told jurors in closing arguments Tuesday they should not convict his client because Roulette’s evidence is "unreliable." He suggested Roulette may have been the real gunman and may have made up a story to avoid prosecution.
"This man lied at every turn," Rolston said. Police originally charged Roulette with the murders but quickly dropped the charges when they determined he was a witness. Roulette said he was never given any deal in exchange for his testimony.
Jurors clearly believed Roulette’s evidence in reaching their speedy verdict, despite the fact there were no other eyewitnesses who could identify the killers. Patchinose remains before the courts and is presumed innocent. He will stand trial in adult court later this year.
Roulette told court Patchinose believed at least one of the people inside the home was responsible for an attack about 10 days earlier that left him suffering stab wounds. Roulette and Patchinose had been at the party earlier in the night but left, only to return a short time later.
Roulette had met Patchinose weeks before the deadly shooting because their girlfriends were roommates. He said Patchinose told him to drive to a house on Pritchard Avenue once they initially left the party on Alexander. He was told to wait outside.
Patchinose emerged a few minutes later with the youth who is now on trial. Roulette said the two men pulled out handguns in the car, ordered him to go back to the party, and talked about wanting to "shoot the place up." Roulette claims he balked at their plans and said he didn’t want to be involved. He said Patchinose threatened to kill him if he didn’t comply.
Roulette said he was ordered to park, then watched as the two accused ran towards the home, guns drawn. They returned moments later, telling him to speed away.
"Their adrenalin was rushing. The first thing they said was it was easy, that they just went in through the back door," said Roulette.

A 17-year-old male is facing a mandatory life sentence after a jury convicted him Wednesday night of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.
Standing in the prisoner’s box, dressed in a black suit, the youth wore a grim expression that did not change as the verdict was delivered.
Scott Lavallee, Corey Keeper and Jennifer Ward were killed March 29, 2008 after two masked gunmen walked into an Alexander Avenue house party and opened fire. Three other partygoers were wounded.
Family members of both the youth and the deceased declined to speak to reporters following the verdict.
A second accused, now 20 years old, is expected to stand trial later this year.
Justice Colleen Suche ordered the preparation of a mandatory pre-sentence report for the youth. A sentencing date will be set in May.
Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the youth will serve a maximum term of 10 years in custody.
Jurors declined an opportunity to recommend whether he be eligible for parole after serving a minimum five years in prison or maximum of seven years.
Jurors took less than seven hours to reach a verdict in a case that hinged on the testimony of one witness.
Howard Roulette was originally arrested with the two other accused. Police later dropped charges against him when they concluded he was a witness, not a suspect.
Roulette testified he was forced at gunpoint to drive the then 15-year-old accused and 18-year-old co-accused to the house party, knowing they intended to “shoot up the place.”
Roulette told court the older accused claimed he recognized people at the party as those responsible for stabbing him some weeks earlier.
Crown attorney Dale Schille argued Roulette had no reason to lie about the killings and could have evaded arrest had he kept his mouth shut.
“If he had remained silent there would have been no arrest,” Schille said.

Manitoba teen guilty of 3 murders; Crown says it will seek an adult sentence
A 17-year-old boy who walked into a Winnipeg house party and opened fire with a handgun for no apparent reason has been convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.
It took a five-woman, seven-man jury less than six hours to find the boy guilty of killing Scott Lavallee, 31, Corey Keeper, 22, and Jennifer Ward, 26, at a home on Alexander Avenue in the early hours of March 29, 2008.
Three other people were wounded: two men, aged 19 and 29, and a 41-year-old woman. They survived the attack in which more than 19 shots were fired by two teenagers.
Court heard over the course of the week-long trial that there was no apparent motive for the attack, but jurors clearly believed the shootings were planned and premeditated.
The boy was 15 when he was charged in connection to the killings.
Now 17, he cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence in the case, and a sentencing hearing is still to be scheduled. He has been in custody since his arrest the day after the killings.
Jurors began deliberations at about 3:30 p.m. CT Wednesday and arrived at a verdict about 9 p.m.
The teen showed no emotion upon hearing the jury's decision.
He was flanked by his defence lawyers as he stood in the prisoner's box while the verdict was read. He looked up at the ceiling for long periods of time.
The boy's supporters left court immediately after the hearing concluded without commenting.
Another man, Colton Patchinose, 20, is charged with the same offences and is awaiting trial.
The Crown's case against the youth hinged largely on the testimony of witness Howard Roulette, 27.
Roulette testified that he and Patchinose were at the party but left after Patchinose had a discussion with another guest. He said he and Patchinose picked up the teen at a North End home. He said he was forced to drive to the party by one of the two accused who held a gun to his head.
Patchinose and the teen left the car and shot up the party, a Crown attorney told court, then returned to the car and drove away.
Roulette was initially charged in connection with the shooting, but prosecutors dropped charges after concluding he was actually a witness.
During the trial, defence lawyer Ryan Rolston attacked Roulette's credibility in an effort to portray him as a liar.

I have written a previous blog post about my strong opinions towards this case and sentence. In short though, I do not think that this teen should be sentenced to an adult term because it has been proven to be ineffective and I thought that he should have been found guilty of second degree, not first. 

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