Killer con­fessed in ac­ci­den­tal call to vic­tim’s daugh­ter

Winnipeg Free Press - - FRONT PAGE - KATIE MAY

AS a 52-year-old grand­fa­ther lay dy­ing of a stab wound out­side his home last year, his killer was un­know­ingly leav­ing a voice mail for the vic­tim’s daugh­ter, say­ing he “f----- him up pretty good.”

Richard Paul, 21, pleaded guilty to man­slaugh­ter in the April 27, 2016 homi­cide of Ghe­o­rghe Uta and was sen­tenced to 15 years in prison last week after he ad­mit­ted he had stabbed Uta on two oc­ca­sions.

“It’s al­most in­con­ceiv­able,” pro­vin­cial court Judge Lynn Stan­nard said to the ac­cused as she im­posed the 15year sen­tence.

“Mr. Uta was in­jured at one point in time in a se­ri­ous ag­gra­vated as­sault, and then four weeks later… comes in con­tact with you again, and you end his life.”

On March 31, 2016, Paul stabbed

Uta in the stom­ach at the back of a house in the 1800 block of Alexan­der Av­enue. He fled and wasn’t caught by po­lice. Uta re­cov­ered from the in­jury, but was stabbed again by Paul about a month later.

They were rid­ing their bikes past each other on Alexan­der Av­enue, with Uta rid­ing in the op­po­site di­rec­tion from Paul and his girl­friend, when Uta pulled out his cell­phone. Paul thought Uta rec­og­nized him and pre­sum­ably would turn him in as the per­son who had stabbed him.

“The Crown’s po­si­tion is that Mr. Uta had taken out his cell­phone. As a re­sult of fur­ther po­lice in­ves­ti­ga­tion, in­clud­ing the in­ter­view of Mr. Paul, it be­came ap­par­ent that Mr.

Paul be­lieved that he had taken out his cell­phone to ei­ther take a pic­ture… or a video of Mr. Paul,” Crown at­tor­ney Mark Kan­tor said during Paul’s sen­tenc­ing hear­ing Oct. 25.

Paul con­fronted Uta and stabbed him again — once in the ab­domen and once in the lower chest. He stole Uta’s cell­phone — which ac­ci­dently di­alled Uta’s adult daugh­ter. In a long mes­sage, Paul is heard talk­ing about the stab­bing, say­ing “I ran into that guy again.”

Kan­tor read a vic­tim im­pact state­ment from Uta’s daugh­ter An­gela in court: “Know that this in­ci­dent has changed my life dra­mat­i­cally, and not just my­self, but my daugh­ter, too. Try ex­plain­ing to a five-year-old why grandpa is sud­denly not around to play with her any­more. It breaks my heart so bad that it’s hard to speak some­times.”

“I have a neighbour in her 80s who can’t sell her prop­erty un­til this has been re­solved,” Ames said. “We are ob­li­gated to dis­close this project to any buyer. There are so many peo­ple who have been in­ju­ri­ously af­fected by this, it’s un­be­liev­able.”

While Su­d­er­man and MMM/WSP Global were talk­ing to the res­i­dents, se­nior staff from pub­lic works met with coun­cil­lors on the pub­lic works com­mit­tee on Oct. 6 at a pub­lic meet­ing, but there was no dis­clo­sure that an east-west cor­ri­dor had been cho­sen or that city staff had ini­ti­ated dis­cus­sions about buy­ing res­i­dents’ prop­erty or raised the spec­tre of ex­pro­pri­a­tion.

Ames said he im­me­di­ately con­tacted area Coun. Marty Mo­rantz and told him what city staff had been plan­ning. Mo­rantz, who is chair­man of the pub­lic works com­mit­tee, said he knew noth­ing about the pro­posed cor­ri­dor that in­volved ex­tend­ing the Sterling Lyon Park­way.

Mo­rantz said he, like the res­i­dents, had as­sumed city staff and MMM/WSP Global had been work­ing on the pro­posal to widen Wilkes Av­enue, adding that he isn’t sur­prised res­i­dents are an­gry.

“Peo­ple get up­set when they see a plan with a high­way go­ing through their house,” Mo­rantz said.

Mo­rantz said he was told last sum­mer by the act­ing di­rec­tor of the pub­lic works depart­ment that MMM/WSP Global had pre­ma­turely filed for an en­vi­ron­men­tal re­view of an east-west route. He was un­aware what that route was. After Ames con­tacted him ear­lier this month, Mo­rantz said pub­lic works told him the con­sul­tants had de­vel­oped the Sterling Lyon Park­way ex­ten­sion as the pre­ferred route.

Mo­rantz said the pub­lic works depart­ment had ac­cepted MMM/WSP Global’s pro­posal and em­braced the new cor­ri­dor route as their choice and had pre­sented it to the res­i­dents.

“I’m not happy about what’s oc­curred,” Mo­rantz said.

Mo­rantz said he isn’t pre­pared to ac­cept the new route and met with

Ames and other res­i­dents last week­end. Mo­rantz said he took Doug McNeil, the city’s chief ad­min­is­tra­tive of­fi­cer, with him to the meet­ing. They as­sured res­i­dents that only the widen­ing of Wilkes would be con­sid­ered for a fu­ture east­west cor­ri­dor.

Mo­rantz said he’ll in­tro­duce a mo­tion at Tues­day’s meet­ing of the pub­lic works com­mit­tee that will kill the ex­ten­sion of the Sterling Lyon Park­way and ex­pro­pri­a­tion of the res­i­dents’ prop­er­ties.

Ames said he’s been as­sured by McNeil and by Dave Wardrop, the city’s chief trans­porta­tion and util­i­ties of­fi­cer, that the Sterling Lyon Park­way route will not pro­ceed, and the city will only con­sider the widen­ing of Wilkes Av­enue.

COLIN CORNEAU / WIN­NIPEG FREE PRESS

David Ames (right), pres­i­dent of the

South Wilkes Com­mu­nity As­so­ci­a­tion, walks near his home with fel­low board mem­bers (from left) Dar­ren Van Wyns­berghe, Tony Shay, Ryan An­halt

and Lori Dob­bie.

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