Woman pleads guilty to stabbing St. Boniface senior to death

A woman has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the stabbing death of a senior.

Melissa Gabriel pleads guilty Tuesday to manslaughter in death of 89-year-old Dorothy Dykens

Dorothy Dykens, 89, was stabbed to death in 2015. Melissa Gabriel pleaded guilty to manslaughter Tuesday in connection with her death. (Nina Kaczmarek/Submitted)

A woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to manslaughter in the stabbing death of a Winnipeg senior.

Melissa Gabriel, 36, was charged with killing 89-year-old Dorothy Dykens in May 2015. The senior was stabbed to death in a home on Tremblay Street in St. Boniface.

A dog which belonged to Dykens's friend was also stabbed in the attack but survived.

Gabriel's lawyer, Matthew Gould, said his client wanted to plead guilty to manslaughter from the beginning.

"From day one, Melissa Gabriel was determined to accept responsibility for manslaughter," said Gould. "She never intended to cause the death."

Gould said the Crown increased charges against his client to second-degree murder which caused a delay in processing her case. Recently, the Crown reduced charges to manslaughter and Gabriel entered her plea.

Gould said serious mental health concerns were raised but Gabriel was determined to be criminally responsible for Dykens' death.

Gabriel had 43 prior convictions, ranging from theft to assaulting a police officer to uttering threats.

Her sentencing hearing is scheduled for April 24.