'Horrible crime' a mystery
Larry Brass knows he committed a horrifying act of violence against the people he loved most.
What he doesn’t know is why.
“I’m sorry to admit I can’t provide any reason why I committed this horrible crime,” Brass told a judge Thursday.
Brass, 29, previously pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and one count of obstruction of justice.
Brass was arrested May 5, 2007, following an inexplicable rampage that sent his common-law wife and cousin to hospital suffering multiple stab wounds and clinging to life. Brass’ 12-year-old daughter and 14-year-old sister witnessed the attacks and called 911.
Court heard Brass and his family spent the previous night celebrating his wife’s 28th birthday, during which time Brass had consumed alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy.
Brass, his wife and cousin returned to the couple’s Wolever Avenue apartment around 6 a.m. A short time after going to bed, Brass was heard yelling at his wife and choking her. Brass retrieved a steak knife from the kitchen, returned to the bedroom and stabbed the woman in the face. Brass then moved to the living room where he stabbed his sleeping cousin in the face, neck and arms.
As his cousin scrambled out of the apartment seeking help, Brass returned to the bedroom and stabbed his wife several more times in the face and neck, severing her carotid artery.
The children barricaded themselves in their room and called 911. Police arrived to find Brass sitting outside the children’s room, suffering deep, self-inflicted stab wounds to his arms and a puncture wound to his neck.
Court heard Brass advanced on officers with a knife and was ultimately shocked with a Taser.
The Crown is seeking a prison sentence of 10 years. Defence lawyer Greg Hawrysh recommended his client be sentenced to the double-time equivalent of six years time served. Judge Robert Dewar reserved sentencing. A sentencing date will be set next month.
Brass had never been in trouble with the law and was by all accounts a loving husband and father, Hawrysh said.
Hawrysh said Brass appears to have been in a state of “excited delirium” and unaware of his actions.
Both victims have suffered permanent and debilitating injuries. Brass’ wife suffered a stroke during surgery and serious brain damage. She has no memory of the attack.
Court heard Brass and his wife — who was present in court — want to renew their relationship after he has finished his sentence.
“I’m sorry that I couldn’t have been a better husband and a better friend,” Brass told her.
Wife forgives man for grisly, disabling attack- stabbing spree unprovoked
A Winnipeg woman says she has forgiven her husband for an unprovoked stabbing spree their 12-year-old daughter witnessed, and has left her permanently disabled.
"She has consistently expressed a desire to reconcile... once he is released from prison," Crown attorney Colleen McDuff told court Thursday. "She hopes the family can be together again."
Larry Brass, 29, pleaded guilty to two counts of aggravated assault and resisting arrest for the May 2007 rampage inside his Wolever Avenue apartment suite.
The Crown is seeking four more years in prison, while the defence claims Brass should be released from custody immediately with a sentence of three years time served, which will be given double-time credit of six years. The judge has reserved his decision until later this spring. Brass -- who has no prior criminal record -- remains in custody.
Brass admits stabbing his spouse in the throat and face, severing a major artery, which caused her to suffer a massive stroke, spend several days on life-support and be left brain-damaged and partially paralyzed. She now requires full-time care, struggles to speak and write, has experienced several recent seizures and had to abandon her dream of becoming a school teacher.
"The family were repeatedly told it was unlikely she would survive and they should prepare for her passing," said McDuff.
Brass also admitted to slicing his cousin's neck and slashing his face as he slept on a couch, causing extensive blood loss and permanent scarring. Brass then cut his own arms and throat and begged Winnipeg police to shoot him when they arrived on scene. Officers were able to wrestle him to the ground without using deadly force.
The Brass family is no stranger to tragedy. He is the nephew of former Manitoba RCMP Const. Dennis Strongquill, who was gunned down in December 2001 by three heavily armed Alberta fugitives during a seemingly routine traffic stop near Russell.
The cousin Brass attacked is Strongquill's son.
Police had been called to the home by Brass' preteen daughter and his 14-year-old sister, who were inside the apartment and saw him stabbing the helpless victims.
"They could hear her saying, 'I'm sorry Larry, no, please don't do this to me,' " Crown attorney McDuff told court Thursday. "Then there was a point in time where things went completely quiet."
McDuff said there is no explanation for the violence, which could have ended with several deaths.
Brass had consumed alcohol, cocaine and ecstasy that night while out with the victims celebrating his wife's 28th birthday. They returned home and Brass attacked her in the bedroom without provocation, then went into the living room and began cutting his cousin. He used a total of six different knives in the attack.
McDuff was planning to play the young daughter's 911 call in court but changed her mind, saying it was "too disturbing." A blood-soaked Brass began walking towards the two girls, holding the weapons, before police arrived.
"He told them 'Don't worry about this, girls, I would never hurt you, I love you,' " said McDuff.
Brass offered an apology in court Thursday to his wife, daughter and sister and thanked them for their continued support. The women sat quietly, wiping tears from their eyes.
"I love you very much. I'm sorry for all the pain that I caused. I made the biggest mistake of my life. I hurt the people I care about the most," said Brass. "I am sorry I can't give any reason for why I committed such a horrible crime."
Yes it was a brutal attack but I believe the man's claim in that he was unaware of his actions, which is why he probably said that he doesn't have a reason for why it happened. His actions could have been involuntary. This man has a family and needs to support them and they said that they forgive him for what happened.
If the Judge does happen to decide to sentence him, I feel it should be no longer than 2 years less a day in provincial prison combined with 3 years probation.
But I do not feel that first time offenders should be sentenced extremely harshly.
Since the man accepts responsibility for his actions and the wife wishes to reconcile with him, I think that victim-offender mediation or other restorative justice approaches, would be much more effective than prison. Prison will accomplish nothing for this family.
I made a chart of the mitigating and aggravating circumstances. Mitigating factors lessen the sentence and aggravating factors increase the sentence.
Unprovoked stabbing on wife and cousin
Accepted Responsibility for Actions
2 counts of aggravated assault
Intoxicated (Alcohol, Ecstasy, Cocaine)- possibly unaware of his actions
Left wife partially paralyzed and cousin with permanent scarring
Deep remorse (offered tearful apology)
No prior criminal record/never been in trouble with the law previously
Loving husband and father
There are more mitigating factors in this case, than aggravating. I truly think that this man was unaware of his actions at the time and that he is sincerely sorry for what happened. Therefore, I think that he should NOT be sentenced harshly but instead to community time, possibly a conditional sentence with anger management, drug treatment courses and victim-offender mediation. :)