The second-degree murder charge against killer Shawn Lamb in the death of Tanya Nepinak has been stayed, CBC News has learned.
Lamb, 54, pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter in the deaths of 25-year-old Carolyn Sinclair and 18-year-old Lorna Blacksmith, in exchange for police reducing the charges from second-degree murder.
Lamb received a 20-year prison sentence, which has been reduced to 18 years because of the time he has already served in custody. He will be eligible to apply for parole in nine years.
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At the time of Lamb's sentencing, there was no mention in court of the outstanding second-degree murder charge he faced in the death of Nepinak, 31.
All Lamb's lawyer, Martin Glazer, told reporters last week was, "Stay tuned."
Lamb has denied having any involvement in Nepinak's death.
Her body has never been recovered, despite a police search of the Brady Road landfill last year.
Members of Nepinak's family told CBC News they were informed of the news on Wednesday.
"When my sister first heard, she just burst out crying," Susan Caribou, Nepinak's aunt, said Friday.
"We've been crying since we heard. I don't know if we'll ever get any justice."
Family members said they still believe Lamb was responsible for her death, and they're upset that they won't get their day in court.
Part of plea deal?
Sources told CBC News the staying of the charge was part of the plea deal that resulted in Lamb pleading guilty in the deaths of Sinclair and Blacksmith.
However, Manitoba Justice officials insist it was not part of the plea deal, saying the only reason the charge in Nepinak's case was stayed was because Crown prosecutors felt there was not enough evidence for a conviction.
Crown prosecutor Sheila Leinburd said there was not enough evidence to proceed with the charge against Lamb. The charge was stayed on Thursday.