Miranda LeClaire sentenced to 6 years in Garnet Williams' death

A Winnipeg woman has been sentenced to six years in jail after leaving a dead body in her McGee Street apartment closet for days before using a child's wagon to haul the body to a dumpster.

Williams' body found in dumpster after he was beaten, confined to apartment for 10 days, police say

Garnett Williams was 43 when he died. (Supplied by Williams family )

A Winnipeg woman has been sentenced to six years in jail after leaving a dead body in her McGee Street apartment closet for days before using a child's wagon to haul the body to a dumpster.

Miranda LeClaire pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the 2016 death of Garnet Williams, 43. Her sentence by Justice Colleen Suche was made after a joint recommended by the Crown and defence lawyers.

During sentencing on Monday, Crown attorney Carla Dewar called LeClaire "cold, callous and cowardly" for her role in Williams' death.

LeClaire did not call police about Williams because she was severely afraid of her co-accused, Jeremy Allen, who has also pleaded guilty, court was told.

Security footage from the early hours of July 31, 2016, shows LeClaire, Allen, Lyle Barrow, Williams and an unidentified man entering LeClaire's apartment. While the others came and went over the following days, Williams never left, court was told.

The group was high on methamphetamine when Williams was attacked.

Police found bleach bottles, blood and syringes in LeClaire's apartment. They also found a garbage bag containing three kitchen knives and a hammer that had hair on it in the dumpster near the body on Aug. 10, 2016.

Williams was making fake GST cheques on a computer when Allen got mad and LeClaire hit the victim on the hands with a hammer, court was told. Allen and Barrow then beat Williams.

There was no evidence that LeClaire took part in the beating after hitting Williams' hands, but she admitted to telling him to get into the closet.

There was no official cause of death for Williams, whose body was badly decomposed when it was found in the dumpster.

"Your fate being determined by three people high on meth is terrifying," said Dewar. "He had no hopes of getting out alive."

Dewar said the attack was unprovoked and Williams' sister said her brother had cognitive delays. 

'I am sorry'

LeClaire, 34, apologized during the sentencing.

"Not a day goes by that it doesn't haunt me," she read from a piece of paper. "I hurt Garnet's family and my family and for that I am sorry."

LeClaire also said drugs took over her life, but she is now the cleanest she's been in 12 years, participating in drug and alcohol programs in jail.

"She had an unenviable life," said LeClaire's lawyer, Wendy Martin White.

Court heard LeClaire lived through emotional and physical abuse as a child, including witnessing her mother being raped and beaten.

Martin White said her client also is a victim of domestic abuse and has struggled with drugs and alcohol since she was a teen, taking her first hit of crack cocaine from a cousin when she was 13. By 16, LeClaire was being sexually exploited to help support her addictions. 

LeClaire has been in custody since Williams' body was discovered. She will spend 3½ years in jail after getting time and a half credit for the time she's already served.

Allen and Barrow have yet to be sentenced.

About the Author

Jillian Taylor

CBC Reporter

Jillian Taylor has been with CBC Manitoba since 2012 and has been reporting for a decade. She was born and raised in Manitoba and is a member of the Fisher River Cree Nation. In 2014, she was awarded the Commonwealth Broadcasting Association's travel bursary, which took her to Australia to work with Indigenous journalists. Find her on Twitter: @JillianLTaylor

With files from Elisha Dacey