Ottawa·In Depth

Ottawa homicides up in 2013, charges laid in 4 unsolved cases

With nine homicides logged in Ottawa in 2013, the numbers are up from seven in 2012 and two files from this year remain unsolved. But to counter the bad news, it was a good year for older unsolved cases.

Numbers up from 2013, arrests made in 4 previously unsolved cases

With nine homicides logged in Ottawa in 2013, the numbers are up from seven in 2012 and two files from this year remain unsolved.

But to counter the bad news, it was a good year for older unsolved cases.

Four unsolved files from 2008, 2010, 2011 and 2012 were solved this year, and those cases are now winding their way through the court system.

While none of the allegations against the accused have been proven in court, Ottawa police consider a case solved once charges are laid.

Leeanne Lawson, Pamela Kosmack

In February, police charged Marc Leduc with two counts of first-degree murder in connection with the 2008 death of 39-year-old Pamela Kosmack, who was struggling with addiction, and the 2011 death of 23-year-old Leeanne Lawson, a sex-trade worker.

Pamela Kosmack, left, was found beaten to death near a bike path close to Britannia Park in June 2008. Leeanne Lawson, right, was found dead in a parking lot in Ottawa's Lowertown neighbourhood in September 2011. (CBC)

Leduc was already in custody at the time. He had been arrested in November 2012 after a woman told police a man had entered her apartment with a knife, restrained her and sexually assaulted her. She was able to break free and injured the suspect in the process.

Major crimes unit Staff Sgt. Bruce Pirt told CBC News Leduc's arrest on the two outstanding homicides was a good moment for the unit.

"It was a good feeling, not just because we solved a number of homicides with the arrest, but it was just a good feeling knowing that someone dangerous like that is no longer on the street," Pirt said.

"You're always going to feel that you have turned the corner when you've made an arrest like that, but there always will be people out there. Then maybe the next one in line after that, then one more after that. So it's just a matter of, one at a time, catching the people responsible for this."

Jennifer Stewart

Also in February, the major crimes unit charged Adrian Daou with first-degree murder in the 2010 death of Jennifer Stewart, a 36-year-old woman who had been working in the sex trade.

Jennifer Stewart was found stabbed to death in a Vanier parking lot in August 2010. (Ottawa Police Services)

She was found stabbed to death in a Vanier parking lot in August 2010. Police said Daou, who was in custody on another matter, later came forward to police to confess.

Since 2011, police have been warning women about a pattern of violence involving sex-trade workers.

Five high-profile homicides involving women in the sex trade in Ottawa-Gatineau remain unsolved:

  • Melinda Sheppit, 16, was found strangled to death in a dumpster in a Murray Street parking lot on Sept. 30, 1990. She had attended St. Patrick's High School and had only started working the sex trade a few weeks before her death.
  • Sophie Filion, 24, was found strangled to death and stuffed into two garbage bags in a Westboro parking lot on Dec. 3, 1993. She had turned to prostitution to support her children and unemployed boyfriend, and was last seen alive getting into a white van near Kent Street and Laurier Avenue.
  • Carrie Mancuso, 32, was found strangled to death in a Lafontaine Avenue apartment on Sept. 7, 1995. She also worked in the sex trade and was last seen in her building in the early morning with man in his late 20s or early 30s. He had short brown hair, tattoos on both arms and wore a light-coloured kilt.
  • Kelly Morrisseau, 27, was found dead in a parking lot near Gatineau Park in 2006. Morrisseau grew up on the Sagkeeng First Nation, north of Winnipeg, but was living in Ottawa's Vanier neighbourhood at the time of her death.
  • Amy Paul, 27, was found dead in a south Ottawa hay field in September.

On Dec. 19, police announced a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in Paul's case.

Levy Kasende

Levy Kasende, 22, was visiting his daughter and ex-girlfriend at their home on Innes Road on Aug. 25, 2012, when he was shot and killed during what was described as a drive-by shooting.

Levy Kasende was shot to death on Innes Road on Aug. 25, 2012.

In May of 2013, police arrested five men and charged one of them, then 24-year-old Michael Belleus, with first-degree murder in Kasende's death.

Police sources told CBC News Belleus had been shot in the shoulder by Kasende at the corner of Rideau and Cumberland Streets on Canada Day in 2010.

2013 homicides

1. and 2. Alison Easton, 40, took her own life after killing her two children  Katheryn (Katie) Corchis, 6, and Jon Alexander (Alex) Corchis, 10  at their house on 25 Granite Ridge Dr. in Stittsville on Monday, Jan. 14. Easton's husband came home to discover the bodies in the basement. Two suicide notes were left. No charges were laid.

3. Rolland Laflamme, 54, was stabbed to death in his apartment building at 2814 Carling Ave., on Monday, Feb. 11. Mark Haslett, then 24, was charged with one count of second-degree murder. 

4. Peter Thomasing, 39, called police on Tuesday, Feb. 19 to say he had killed his father, 75-year-old James Thomasing, and was going to kill himself at their 3204 Pierce Rd. home in North Gower, Ont. He then took his own life. No charges were laid. An SIU investigation into how Ottawa police handled calls at that address found no wrongdoing.

5. Malik Adjokatcher, 24, was shot to death outside a home at 119 Ritchie St. on Tuesday, May 14. No arrests have been made. In November, Ottawa police released a video re-enactment of the murder in a bid for tips and information. There is also a $50,000 reward for information. Police have no suspects and the case remains unsolved.

6. Michael Wassill, 21, was stabbed at his home at 298 Fernleaf Cres. in Orleans on Wednesday, May 15. He died of his injuries in hospital a week later. Carson Morin, then 20, was initially charged with attempted murder. The charge was upgraded to second-degree murder after Wassill died, and was later upgraded to first-degree murder

7. Melissa Richmond, 28, was found dead in a ditch at the South Keys Shopping Centre on Sunday, July 28. She had been missing for four days. After the body was found, her husband  then 50-year-old Howard Richmond — told CBC News Richmond was helping him deal with post-traumatic stress, and that he felt "incredible pain" and then "anger." Two days later, he was charged with first-degree murder in Richmond's death. 

8. Amy Paul, 27, was found dead in a hay field off Nixon Road in south Ottawa on Tuesday, Sept. 17. She had been missing for two weeks. On Dec. 19, police announced a $50,000 reward for any information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. The case remains unsolved.

9. Andre Boisclair, 38, was stabbed during an altercation in a rooming house at 494 Somerset St. W on Saturday, Oct. 26 and was pronounced dead at hospital. Mutiur Rehman, then 20, was initially charged with second-degree murder. Hours later, the charge was upgraded to first-degree murder