Manitoba

Manitoba teen guilty of 3 murders

A 17-year-old boy who walked into a Winnipeg house party and opened fire with a handgun has been convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

Crown says it will seek an adult sentence

A 17-year-old boy who walked into a Winnipeg house party and opened fire with a handgun for no apparent reason has been convicted of three counts of first-degree murder and three counts of attempted murder.

It took a five-woman, seven-man jury less than six hours to find the boy guilty of killing Scott Lavallee, 31, Corey Keeper, 22, and Jennifer Ward, 26, at a home on Alexander Avenue in the early hours of March 29, 2008.

Three other people were wounded: two men, aged 19 and 29, and a 41-year-old woman. They survived the attack in which more than 19 shots were fired by two teenagers.

Court heard over the course of the week-long trial that there was no apparent motive for the attack, but jurors clearly believed the shootings were planned and premeditated.

The boy was 15 when he was charged in connection to the killings.

Now 17, he cannot be identified under the provisions of the Youth Criminal Justice Act. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence in the case, and a sentencing hearing is still to be scheduled. He has been in custody since his arrest the day after the killings.

Jurors began deliberations at about 3:30 p.m. CT Wednesday and arrived at a verdict about 9 p.m.

The teen showed no emotion upon hearing the jury's decision.

He was flanked by his defence lawyers as he stood in the prisoner's box while the verdict was read. He looked up at the ceiling for long periods of time.

The boy's supporters left court immediately after the hearing concluded without commenting.

Another man, Colton Patchinose, 20, is charged with the same offences and is awaiting trial.

The Crown's case against the youth hinged largely on the testimony of witness Howard Roulette, 27.

Roulette testified that he and Patchinose were at the party but left after Patchinose had a discussion with another guest. He said he and Patchinose picked up the teen at a North End home. He said he was forced to drive to the party by one of the two accused who held a gun to his head.

Patchinose and the teen left the car and shot up the party, a Crown attorney told court, then returned to the car and drove away.

Roulette was initially charged in connection with the shooting, but prosecutors dropped charges after concluding he was actually a witness.

During the trial, defence lawyer Ryan Rolston attacked Roulette's credibility in an effort to portray him as a liar.