Winnipeg Free Press - - NEWS -

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.

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