ACCUSED INTENDED TO KILL: CROWN
ONE of two women accused of murdering a 53-year-old man in his downtown Winnipeg apartment has admitted she caused his death. But Crown prosecutors haven’t accepted her guilty plea to manslaughter, telling the jury they can prove she intended to kill.
Raven Desjarlais and Clarissa Dawn Ponace both pleaded not guilty to second-degree murder and arson charges Monday as their jury trial in the July 26, 2014, death of Arthur Hausserman began.
Desjarlais accepted responsibility for the lesser charge of manslaughter, but the
Crown is going ahead with the murder charge, Crown attorney Mike Himmelman told court.
In his opening statement to the jury, Himmelman outlined the Crown’s case. He said firefighters were called to Hausserman’s one-bedroom suite on Hargrave Street in the early hours of the morning.
The 53-year-old later died in hospital “not as a result of the fire in the suite,” Himmelman said. “Rather, as a result of ligature strangulation. He had suffered blunt force trauma as well as stab wounds to the abdomen and left forearm.
“Through the course of the trial,” he told the jury, “you will come to learn how, during the autopsy, the pathologist discovered that the stabs were likely inflicted after death, and there was no soot in the lungs, suggesting that Arthur Hausserman was strangled to death before the fire started.” elderly women in four separate incidents in September. They allege he watched the women working in their yards and then broke into their homes to steal cash, credit and debit cards from their purses. He is alleged to have used the money to buy roughly $800 worth of goods from convenience stores.
Police have arrested 46-year-old Gregory Francis Courchene in connection with the case. Courchene was arrested Sunday at
Milner Ridge Correctional Centre, where he has been in custody, charged in two separate break-and-enters over the summer.
He faces three charges for possessing property obtained from a crime, four counts of fraud valued at less than $5,000 and one count of breaking and entering.