Homeless killer John Paul Ostamas gets no chance of parole for 75 years

Serial killer John Paul Ostamas has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 75 years for the 2015 killings of three homeless men on the streets of Winnipeg.

Miles Monias, Stony Stanley Bushie and Donald Collins were all slain in April 2015

Family of victims speak after killer John Paul Ostamas sentenced

CBC News: Winnipeg at 6:00

5 years ago
Serial killer John Paul Ostamas has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 75 years for the 2015 killings of three homeless men on the streets of Winnipeg. 1:30

Serial killer John Paul Ostamas has been sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for 75 years for the 2015 killings of three homeless men on the streets of Winnipeg.

Ostamas, 40, received a life sentence for three second-degree murder convictions, and won't be eligible for parole for 75 years — 25 years for each murder. 

Miles Monias, Stony Stanley Bushie and Donald Collins were attacked in April 2015 on the streets of downtown Winnipeg. Ostamas was later arrested and confessed to killing the men.

 "You made me this way. You made me like this," Ostamas told the court moments before he was sentenced.

Ostamas, who is schizophrenic, didn't say why he killed the men, but did say he was sorry, willing to accept the consequences and that he knew he was wrong.

The families of Monias and Bushie were in court Monday, where they heard once again the grisly details of their loved ones' murders.
John Paul Ostamas, 40, pleaded guilty last month to three counts of second-degree murder. (CBC)

"I'm happy to know he'll be gone for a long time," Miles Monias's father Ron Monias said Monday.

"Society does not have to live with this man."

Monias said he has forgiven Ostamas, but the killer's apology in court was irrelevant.

"It didn't do anything to me, because I could never get my son back. I have nothing to say before and after when he apologized. It's of no consequence to me, because I'll never see my son again," Monias said.

He said his son Miles was just like any other kid; he loved to play hockey, sports and music. He also loved cooking and hunting.

"I sure will miss saying, 'I love you my son,' every morning," he said.

'No place to run, no place to hide'

Crown attorney Sheilla​ Leinburd outlined the details of the killings in an agreed statement of facts for Judge Vic Toews.

"They had no place to run, no place to hide.… Each was left to bleed to death in the most horrible of circumstances," Leinburd said.

​All three men were homeless, had substance abuse problems and were intoxicated and unable to defend themselves when they were killed.
Ron Monias speaks to the media in Winnipeg after his son's killer, John Paul Ostamas, was sentenced on Monday. (Teghan Beaudette/CBC)

Monias, 37, was beaten in a bus shelter at Portage Avenue and Main Street and later died in hospital. Bushie, 48, and Collins, 65, were lured from Hargrave Street and Ellice Avenue and later beaten to death. Collins was stabbed and strangled, and Bushie had 71 different injuries.

Ostamas mostly stared straight ahead while Leinburd recounted how the men died, but he sometimes looked down.

The only sound heard from the packed courtroom came when Leinburd explained that Bushie was left "unrecognizable" after he was attacked with a two-by-four and a steel bar.

Bushie's family members began sobbing and left the courtroom.

'Hard without you here': victims' families

Leinburd read statements from the men's families, including one from Bushie's niece that said he was a man who loved to hunt, play cards and spend time with his nieces and nephews.

"He was my grandma's baby, and he was her favourite," the statement said. "Whenever I would see him, he would tell me to take care of myself."

Bushie's niece said she knew her uncle had a problem with alcohol, and she worried about him when he visited Winnipeg. In 2011, he lost his mother and moved to Winnipeg permanently, where he lived on the streets.

"It's been hard without you here," his niece's statement said. "It's almost like … the Creator didn't want to see you suffer anymore."

Schizophrenia diagnosis

The motive for the killing remains unclear. Ostamas has said he was seeking retribution for a sexual assault on his pregnant girlfriend by four men, but police have not been able to verify the incident ever took place.
Miles Monias was found beaten in a bus Shelter on Main Street on April 10. He later died from his injuries. (Facebook)

Ostamas's lawyer, Greg Brodsky, said Ostamas had a longtime diagnosis of schizophrenia, and though he had sought help over the years at a variety of psychiatric hospitals in Thunder Bay and Winnipeg, he was always sent home after a matter of weeks.

In some cases, he was sent away without medication, Brodsky said.

A statement from Ostamas's sister said he was a normal kid until he hit his teenage years. After an altercation with police during a break-in, he had to be hospitalized, suffered scars and fell into a deep depression.

He later attempted suicide multiple times, had hallucinations and would go long periods without eating, she said.

Brodsky requested Ostamas not be charged with any further crimes, though he confessed to additional killings in written statements that Brodsky said were false admissions.

"He's building himself into a person he's not in order to survive in the remand centre, the jail system," said Brodsky. "We're not suggesting he go anywhere but a federal institution."

Brodsky said his client had problems that should have been addressed over the years.

Ostamas has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 2002, with 16 convictions for violent incidents, including assault, assault with a weapon and uttering threats.

Leinburd said Ostamas described himself as a "killing machine" in a written confession to the murders, and the statement read as an "egocentric me-focused diatribe."

The crimes forced the city into a state of terror, she said.

"Winnipeg was held hostage" in the days after murders, when police warned the public someone was targeting the city's most vulnerable people, she said.

Rehabilitation isn't realistic or viable in Ostamas's case, she said.

Longest sentence ever in Manitoba

The sentence is the longest time anyone has ever been ineligible for parole in Manitoba and it matches longest ever in Canadian history. 

In 2011, changes to the Criminal Code allowed for consecutive sentences for parole eligibility.

The first time a 75-year term was handed down was to Justin Bourque for the killing of three RCMP officers in New Brunswick in 2014.