Basketball player found not criminally responsible in stabbing to be kept at hospital indefinitely
Junior Sesay a 'significant threat' to public's safety, review board finds
A former Winnipeg basketball star found not criminally responsible for attempted murder has been ordered to stay at a mental health facility until further notice.
Junior Sesay was charged with attempted murder, robbery, and breaking and entering in connection with an attack on Lena Wenke, 20, who was stabbed more than 40 times during the early hours of May 23, 2017.
A judge found Sesay not criminally responsible for both the attempted murder and break and enter charges, after hearing evidence at trial that Sesay was suffering from psychotic delusions and believed his actions were appropriate.
The matter was then handed over to the Manitoba Criminal Code Review Board.
In a written decision dated Dec. 6, 2018, the board said Sesay must reside at either the PsycHealth Centre at Health Sciences Centre in Winnipeg or at the Selkirk Mental Health Centre in Selkirk, Man.
The board found Sesay, a former Winnipeg high school AAAA basketball player of the year, poses a "significant threat to safety of the public," the decision says.
Sesay was honoured as player of the year in 2013 when he graduated from Oak Park High School. He spent two years at the University of Victoria on a basketball scholarship before coming back to Manitoba, where he attended a pre-season training camp with the University of Winnipeg Wesmen but was dismissed after an argument with a teammate.
The review board's decision doesn't specify which facility Sesay is to live at, nor when he could be released.
It also says Sesay may be granted passes to leave the facility if his treatment team allows it, and the review board may consider allowing him to live in the community on an "extended pass" after receiving an updated assessment report.
Sesay also was ordered to have no contact with Wenke and to submit to random drug tests.
During his trial, court heard that Sesay barged into Wenke's West End home during the early morning hours of May 23, 2017. She was found outside the home, bloodied and left for dead.
At the time, police said Wenke, a basketball player with the U of W program, suffered "unbelievable" injuries. She was on life support for 24 hours after the attack and ultimately survived.
Sesay's trial centred on whether he was aware his actions were legally and morally wrong.
His defence attorney, James Wood, argued Sesay believed he had no other recourse but to kill Wenke, whom he thought was involved in a group chat where people made fun of him and wanted him to kill himself — but the group chat never existed.
A forensic psychiatrist testified that he believed the accused had delusions and schizophrenic symptoms that prevented him from knowing the break-in and attempted murder were morally wrong.
But the Crown argued that Sesay knew what he was doing, saying Sesay penned a note foretelling the killing.
Judge Brian Corrin said in his decision that there was "ample evidence of Mr. Sesay's paranoid delusions leading up to the offence."
With files from Bryce Hoye and Ian Froese