Manitoba

Who is John Paul Ostamas, alleged serial killer in Winnipeg deaths?

Details are emerging about John Paul Ostamas, the 39-year-old homeless man accused of killing three men in Winnipeg, based on information from police, people who have met him and even his own Facebook page, in which he wrote "somebodys [sic] gotta die" on the day two of the men were found dead.

Ostamas, 39, charged in deaths of 3 other men in downtown Winnipeg in April

This photo appears on the most updated Facebook page for Jonathan Ostamas, also known as John Paul Ostamas. The last public post on that page was dated April 26, a day before he was located by police. (Facebook)

Details are emerging about John Paul Ostamas, the 39-year-old homeless man accused of killing three other men in downtown Winnipeg, based on information from police, people who have met him and even his own Facebook page, in which he wrote "somebodys [sic] gotta die" on the day two of the men were found dead.

The post, which appears publicly on one of his Facebook pages as of Tuesday afternoon, was attached to a YouTube link he posted of a music video for Somebody's Gotta Die by Biggie Smalls, also known as the Notorious B.I.G.

This post was among seven video posts that were published on Ostamas's Facebook page on April 25, 2015. (Facebook)

Ostamas also wrote, "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will not fear" next to a YouTube link for You're Nobody ('Til Somebody Kills You) by the same hip-hop artist.

The links were among six Biggie Smalls music videos that were posted on Ostamas's page that day, along with a link to the video for When I'm Gone by Eminem.

April 25 was when the bodies of Donald Collins, 65, and Stony Bushie, 48, were discovered in back alleys near Hargrave Street and Portage Avenue.

The victims had been attacked and left for dead, according to Winnipeg police, who called both incidents "brutal killings."

Ostamas has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Bushie and Collins and one count of second-degree murder in the death of Miles Monias, 37, who died after he was found beaten inside a bus shelter at Main Street and Pioneer Avenue on April 10.

'He seemed like a nice guy'

One of the last people to see Ostamas before he was arrested was Brenda Sinclair, who said she was about to rent one of her rooms to him.

"Yesterday morning, I sat and had coffee with him," Sinclair said Tuesday. "He seemed like a nice guy."

Brenda Sinclair says she had coffee with Ostamas on Monday to discuss whether he would rent a room from her. (CBC)
Sinclair said police visited her later on Monday to ask about Ostamas, and she demanded to know what he is accused of doing.

"'What did he do?' I said, because I need to know … this man was about to live with me!" she exclaimed.

Sinclair said she was shocked upon learning that Ostamas faces three murder charges. She added that she cannot believe how close she came to living with a suspected killer.

Had a violent record in Thunder Bay area

Winnipeg police Supt. Danny Smyth said officers had little contact with Ostamas before he was arrested on Monday in connection with an unrelated assault.

Police later learned that Ostamas's record includes a domestic assault in March, he added.

Smyth noted that Ostamas does have a criminal record in northwestern Ontario, where he is from.

"Ostamas has a violent record for multiple assaults in the Thunder Bay area dating back to 2002," he told reporters on Tuesday.

"Our investigators will be contacting police in other jurisdictions where Ostamas is known to have travelled."

In an email, an Ontario Provincial Police spokesperson told CBC News there are "no outstanding charges laid by the OPP" against Ostamas as far as officials can determine.

Charlie Okeese, a band councillor from Eabametoong First Nation, or Fort Hope First Nation, in northwestern Ontario confirmed to CBC News that John Paul Ostamas is a band member there.

'He's in a lot of trouble,' says lawyer

Smyth said Ostamas has been in Winnipeg off and on for the past 10 years and stayed at a number of homeless shelters.

Greg Brodsky, the accused's lawyer, says Ostamas has no fixed address spent a lot of time on the street.

"He needs some legal help," Brodsky said. "He's in a lot of trouble."

Brodsky said his client lived in Fort Hope until he was seven years old, then moved around.

At least four Facebook pages are under Ostamas's name, two of which use the name Jonathan Ostamas. All show similar photos of him. One of the accounts was active until April 26, one day before he was located by police.

Along with the music video posts, Ostamas wrote on April 25 about being "in Canada again chillin like a mutha f––a" and going back to the United States.

He also harboured a distrust of police. On April 16, Ostamas wrote a Facebook post alleging that police in the Fort Hope area tried to kill him when he was a child.

He wrote that the legal system "did me wrong and violated my rights" and called the RCMP and police "the worst criminals on earth."

'Just don't call the cops,' Facebook post reads

A different post on April 17 included comments like "I be mobbing and doing things like always hit them up!" and "Just don't call the cops."

The last post on his Facebook page, dated Sunday evening, simply read, "The crime familia."

The last public post to appear on Ostamas's Facebook page. It was dated April 26, a day before he was located by police and arrested. (Facebook)

On Tuesday, Brodsky said Ostamas was in a "somewhat distressed mode because of the nature of the charges against him," but he had yet to speak with his client since the charges were laid.

"I have to talk to him again as soon as he gets here [the Remand Centre]," Brodsky said.

"Then I want to talk to the police to find out the basis on which these charges were laid and then I want to appear for him in court, which I expect to be tomorrow."

Brodsky declined to say what Ostamas had been doing in the city or whether Ostamas knew the men he is accused of killing.

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