Murder charge laid in rooming house killing

A man has been charged with second-degree murder in a stabbing death at an Edmonton rooming house early Saturday.
A man's body was found in a rooming house at 107th Avenue and 96th Street in Edmonton. (Andrea Huncar, CBC News and Google Maps)

A man has been charged with second-degree murder in a stabbing death at an Edmonton rooming house early Saturday.

Gerry Oar, 24, staggered outside the multi-suite home at 10715 96 St. following an alcohol-fuelled confrontation and called 911 from his own cellphone, police said. He died in hospital.

Det. Dale Johnson said Sunday a suspect was arrested nearby a short time after police arrived.

On Saturday, a forensics team pored over the scene and investigators interviewed about 15 residents of the rooming house, Johnson said.

"From the people we have interviewed it sounds like alcohol was a factor," he said. "Groups of people were drinking and something happened to instigate a fight or an argument between people inside."

However, many in the neighbourhood believe something more than alcohol played a role that night.

Paul Kalek said that some women had been involved, but that they became afraid and had fled. "It wasn't a fight. It was just … outrage," Kalek said.

David Mandeville, who has lived in the area for five years, called the rooming house a "party place" and said that Oar was "stabbed over a $10 piece of crack."

But friends and family of the deceased said that Oar wasn't a drug user.

Ron Oar said his cousin was an outgoing man who loved life.

"He never looked for trouble and I don't know why somebody would do this to him," Oar said. "I still can't believe that this has happened to him."

Nephew will be missed

On Saturday, Rita Oar was mourning a future without her nephew. She said she cherished his visits over the years. "He helped me with the chores, he made me laugh," she said.

Some loved ones have turned to Facebook to express their grief.

"My heart felt condolences to the oar family in there time of loss... My prayers and deepest sympathy is with u. RIP Jerry," one friend wrote.

An autopsy is scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Kenneth Berard, 42, has been charged with second-degree murder and possession of a weapon. Berard had six prior criminal warrants outstanding at the time of his arrest.


With files from the CBC's Andrea Huncar