Killer confessed in accidental call to victim’s daughter
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.
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.