Monday, March 29, 2010
Three men sentenced for alleged roles in 2006 stabbing death
I wrote this article about the three men sentenced (Ponce, Monkman and Tavares) today, as I felt both newspaper stories (Winnipeg Sun and Winnipeg Free Press) were highly biased and did not include enough information from both sides, so here is my article, which presents each side of the argument.
Three men were sentenced to different prison terms for their alleged roles in a stabbing death outside a Winnipeg nightclub in 2006.
Glen Monkman, 39, was given a mandatory life sentence with parole eligibility set at 12 years after being convicted last month of second degree murder by a jury. The Crown was seeking 15 years for parole eligibility while his lawyer sought 10 years.
Carlos Tavares, 31, received 5 years in prison in addition to one year in custody of time served, after jurors found him guilty of manslaughter. He will be eligible for parole after serving 1 and a half years. The Crown was seeking 13 years in prison.
Norris Ponce, 31, was given 2 years in prison in addition to 2 years time served. When the verdict was delivered last month, Ponce addressed the court by saying, "Not a day goes by where I don't think of what I could have done." Ponce has no previous criminal record and had asked the court to be sentenced lightly in order for him to raise his two children and support his wife as she completes her education. Ponce had been on bail for a year prior to the trial, where he obeyed his conditions, which was why his lawyer argued for a community sentence. Ponce will be eligible for full parole in 8 months. The Crown was seeking 7 years.
Monkman was originally charged with first degree murder and Ponce and Tavares of second degree murder.
Ming Huynh, 24, was stabbed outside Club Desire in Winnipeg on April 30, 2006, which caused his death. Monkman admitted stabbing Huynh four times in the chest and cheek amidst many bystanders. He claimed that he should only have been found guilty of manslaughter based on the fact he was provoked. The Crown accused Ponce of distracting Huynh on the street prior to the stabbing. His defence lawyer argued that Ponce was just another victim of Huynh's, as Huynh was intoxicated, aggressive and had started verbal disputes with numerous people that night. Huynh's girlfriend Angie Pfiefer testified that he used steroids and cocaine and was severely intoxicated on that night. The Crown accused Tavares of driving a getaway vehicle away from the stabbing. Lawyers for Ponce and Tavares argued that there was no credible evidence linking them to the attack and that they should have been acquitted. No murder weapon was ever recovered, but Monkman's blood was found inside the getaway vehicle.
The key issue during the trial was related to the testimony of the Crown's key witness, Danny Simao. He claims that the men discussed an attack on the victim prior to arriving at the club. He also claims that the murder weapon was dumped in a river, after the group fled the stabbing. The Crown argued that they planned the attack as revenge for another stabbing where Monkman was the victim, at a wedding social in March 2006. However, defence lawyers argued that the testimony was inconsistent as Simao changed his story repeatedly about what he saw and heard. They argued that his vomiting and retching on the witness stand was a good indicator he was lying. Monkman's lawyer claimed Simao was a 100% untrustworthy witness whose evidence should have been rejected. Simao had been intoxicated and admitted that much of that day was a blank to him and that doesn’t remember the details of the vehicle conversation. Defence lawyers questioned why Simao was seen purchasing food after arriving at the club, if he had actually heard of the harmful plan. All three lawyers suggested that it is because the conversation never took place and accused Simao of fabricating his story.