Jury finds Steven Morrisseau guilty of 2nd-degree murder in 2015 killing

A jury has found Steven Morrisseau guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his roommate, Jason Stinson, who was found dead along the Red River in 2015.

Jason Stinson's body was found on banks of Winnipeg's Red River in June 2015

Jason Stinson was found dead near the Red River in downtown Winnipeg on June 12. (Courtesy Winnipeg Police Service)

A jury has found Steven Morrisseau guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his roommate, Jason Stinson, who was found dead along the Red River in 2015.

Stinson's body was found on the evening of June 12, 2015, in Steven Juba Park, at Lombard Avenue and Waterfront Drive. An autopsy determined he was shot at some point during that day, police said. He was 49. 

Morrisseau was arrested on June 26 of that year, and initially charged with second-degree murder. The charge was later upgraded to first-degree murder.

On Thursday, the jury found Morrisseau not guilty of first-degree murder, but did find him guilty of the lesser charge of second-degree murder. 

Regardless, Morrisseau now faces life in prison. 

After the verdict was read, Morrisseau appeared ambivalent, slouching in the prisoner's box, at times even smiling. 

Sentencing has yet to be scheduled. Morrisseau will also face contempt charges, which Justice Sheldon Lanchbery laid during the course of the trial. 

On Thursday, Lanchbery told Morrisseau he would lift the contempt charges if the accused apologized, but Morrisseau refused. 

"Well, what's going to happen to me? I'm not really concerned about doing time," he said. 

"This isn't even a legitimate court room."

'Brutal' murder 

On Wednesday, during closing arguments in Morrisseau's first-degree murder trial, Crown prosecutor Rustyn Ullrich alleged that Morrisseau led Stinson to a secluded area along the Red River in Winnipeg and fired a shotgun shell into his head in a "brutal" act of murder. 

Morrisseau, who defended himself during the trial, pleaded not guilty to the charge.

He argued the Crown's case was based on "speculation," saying that there were no witnesses placing him near the scene of the shooting.

Stinson's body was found on the banks of the Red River in June 2012. (CBC)

Ullrich told the jury cellphone tower data and video surveillance showed Morrisseau, 32, was near the scene of the shooting around the time Stinson was killed.

The Crown prosecutor also told the jury there is evidence that Morrisseau bragged about the killing over the phone.

In addition, a "fresh-looking" cigarette butt with a perfect match of Morrisseau's DNA was also found at the murder scene, Ullrich said.

The defendant argued that wasn't conclusive evidence, since there was no time stamp on a cigarette butt.

The trial in Court of Queen's Bench began on Oct. 15, 2018.