Jonathan Henoche's jailhouse death was a homicide, rules coroner

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating Jonathan Henoche's death as a homicide.
Jonathan Henoche appears in court in Happy Valley-Goose Bay by video conference. (Jacob Barker/CBC)

The Royal Newfoundland Constabulary is investigating Jonathan Henoche's death as a homicide.

Police responded to Her Majesty's Penitentiary on Nov. 6 to reports of the death of a 33-year-old man. Sources say he was in a violent altercation with correctional officers.

Henoche was in jail awaiting trial for the murder of 88-year-old Regula Schule in Happy Valley-Goose Bay in July 2016. He was charged with first-degree murder.

Schule was found unresponsive in her home in the aftermath of a house fire on July 24.

He was being represented by lawyer Bob Buckingham, who remembered him as an unlikely champion for people living with fetal alcohol syndrome. He said Henoche struggled with the disorder, but was looking forward to his trial and moving forward with his life.

Buckingham has called for an inquiry into his client's death behind the walls of the prison.

In a statement Wednesday evening, the RNC said the death is being investigated by its major crimes unit.

"In order to protect the integrity of the ongoing investigation, we will not be making any further comments at this time," the statement reads.

Parsons giving statement

Minister of Justice and Public Safety Andrew Parsons intends to address the issue on Thursday morning. In a tweet sent out Wednesday evening, Parsons said he will meet with reporters to talk about the ongoing investigation into Henoche's death.

 Buckingham said he doesn't approve of that decision.

"I think Minister Parsons should stay out of this and let the investigation unfold. There should not be even a whiff of political interference. He should refrain from comment at this juncture other than to say the criminal investigation will take place," he said in a statement to the CBC.

Calls for inquiry

Michelle Stewart, a University of Regina associate professor who focuses on supporting people with FASD, had previously called for an inquiry into the circumstances surrounding Henoche's death.

Retired Judge Bill English had voiced similar concerns.

"No, I don't believe there was adequate support," he said.

"I think the challenges are severe and I don't think we've gotten to the point yet where the system is adequate to cope with people who have FASD."

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