Saskatoon man pleads guilty to 2010 homicide

Lance Cote pleaded guilty this morning to fatally stabbing Michael Gruending on January 23, 2010.

Victim and killer were "absolute strangers"

Lance Cote, in orange, pleaded guilty to killing Michael Gruending in 2010. ((CBC))

A Saskatoon man who fatally stabbed an "absolute stranger" in 2010 pleaded guilty to manslaughter this morning.

Lance Cote was 17 when he killed 41-year-old heavy mechanic Michael Paul Gruending. Now 20, Cote agreed to be sentenced to an adult jail. He had originally been charged with second degree murder.

Prosecutor Frank Impey said the fatal altercation happened in "the early hours between two men who were absolute strangers."

Gruending was walking on 22nd Street West when he encountered Cote and three other men. Words were exchanged and Cote got a knife from another man and then stabbed Gruending numerous times. The 41-year-old staggered between two buildings, collapsed in the snow and then died a short time later.

No motive was ever given for the attack.

Both Cote and Gruending had family in court this morning. Gruending's relatives gasped when he pleaded guilty.

Cote returns to court on June 26 for sentencing arguments. He will remain in custody until then.