EDITORIALS, LOCAL NEWS

A LICENCE TO KILL – The Decline of Society

Danger of deathThe tragic case of Cameron Jack Walker’s (16) death makes me question the direction our society is heading.

What does the future hold for us when criminal and moral culpability ultimately becomes a thing of the past?

On January 29, 2011 at 12:50 am, I was jarred from my slumber by a phone call advising me I was required to head to the Public Safety Building to supervise a homicide investigation.

Preliminary information indicated a teenaged boy had been killed an hour or so earlier by an adult male suspect who was in custody.

That part, at least, was good news.

This was not going to be a, “who done it,” and all my time, energy and resources could be directed towards putting the pieces of the puzzle together and building a strong case for prosecution.

At 1:40 a.m., I arrived at my office and went right to work.

It was time to play catch up.

The first priority for any homicide supervisor centres on case orientation.  The process requires a detailed review of computer generated call histories and thorough briefings with all uniform personnel assigned to the call.

Early information indicated Walker suffered three (3) stab wounds to his chest.  It was clear, one or more of these injuries could have been fatal.

The suspect was determined to be an adult male identified as Matthew Craig Krasny (28) of Winnipeg.

Krasny’s younger brother was said to be a friend of the deceased teen.

By 3:20 a.m., I had garnered enough information to brief and assign tasks to Homicide, Major Crime and Forsenic Identification Unit (CSI) investigators.

The case was not complex.

The picture painted by witnesses was typical of many senseless killings in the YWG.

A house party, teenagers drinking, arguments ensuing, an edged weapon, a lapse of judgement and instant tragedy.

Only this time the victim was a sixteen (16) year old kid who stood five foot ten inches tall (5’10”) and weighed approximately one hundred-thirty eight (138) pounds.

Krasny was a twenty-eight (28) year old man who stood five foot six inches tall (5’6″) and weighed approximately one hundred forty-one (141) pounds.

Size Matters

When it comes to homicide investigation size really does matter.  Especially when it comes to killings that involve some form of physical confrontation.

Did one of the participants have an overwhelming size and strength advantage that might justify the use of an edged weapon?

The question comes down to reality based fear.

Was the killer justified in using the weapon to defend himself from suffering serious bodily harm or death?

In this case the evidence was clear.

Krasny did not kill Cameron Walker in self-defence and had no reason to believe his life was in danger.

The fact he stabbed Walker three (3) times in the chest indicated he had intent to kill or at the very least, was reckless regarding the potential to inflict a fatal injury.

During his interrogation Krasny admitted he shouldn’t have stabbed Walker and what he did was wrong.

It was my assessment Krasny over-reacted to a situation that could have easily been settled with words, simple words.

As the mature, adult man in the equation, Krasny had and obligation to mediate the argument and not escalate it with the use of a deadly weapon.

At 9:45 a.m., I prepared a detailed synopsis of the evidence and submitted a report to Manitoba Justice for consideration.

After reviewing the facts, Senior Crown Attorney Russ Ridd authorized charges of 2nd degree murder.

Krasy was charged accordingly and detained at the Provincial Remand Center.

The Trial

The case concluded last week with Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Deborah McCawley arriving at the astounding conclusion Krasny was guilty of the lesser offence of manslaughter.

During the trial Krasny’s lawyer, Jody Ostapiw argued there was evidence her client acted in self-defense.  “He had no choice but to resort to the knife,” she suggested.

“Not every stabbing resulting in death is automatically murder,” she stressed.

Crown Attorney Geoff Bayley properly argued there was ample evidence to support the fact Krasny overreacted to the situation and meant to cause serious harm or death by virtue of the fact he stabbed Walker multiple times.

“He had no choice but to resort to the knife.”

I’m sorry.

The suggestion is ludicrous.

Matthew Krasny had a wide array of options available to him that included walking away, de-escalation, conflict resolution or even calling the police.

Instead, he choose to pull a knife and plunge it into a teenaged kid’s chest not once, but three times.  This was not a case of a split second loss of control and the single thrust of an edged weapon.

The autopsy revealed each thrust of Krasny’s steel blade penetrated Walker’s heart.  

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t blame Ostapiw for this perversion of justice.  She did her job, it’s just unfortunate Justice McCawley couldn’t find the clarity to do hers.

How could an experienced Court of Queen’s Bench Justice call this anything but murder?

The decision sets the bar so low for societal standards of behaviour I fear for the other Cameron Walkers out there who may fall prey to overzealous killers who prefer edged weapons over temperate conflict resolution.

My heart breaks for Kim Walker.

No mother should have to watch her dying child struggle to take his last breath because of what truly amounted to be a trivial argument.

While most homicide cases amount to needless killings, Cameron Walker’s death was particularly senseless.

A familiar story.

Another shattered family.

Their search for some sense of justice forever dashed.

Their grief, pain and suffering compounded by the “justice” system.

The decline of personal responsibility.

The decline of society.

A licence to kill.

This is what some people want you to believe is justice.

Matthew Krasny will be sentenced some time next year.

16 Comments

  1. Darlene (Vieville) Asselstine

    Kim and Family, Although I do recall this tragic story from 2011, as Mr. Adler put it, unfortunately busy life and continual information overload of media sources, a person unrelated to the story may forget to remember–sadly.

    Recently I learnt of a connection to this story not as profound as being a mom or as being a parent, but a connection none-the-less. I am a Dakota Collegiate class of ’82 and therefore went to school with or gathered in social settings in St. Vital with the Walker family. My mom had a clothing store on St. Mary’s Rd and new not just Kim but her parents as well.

    To the Walker family, Cameron’s Story. Kim’s Story. A Family Story. My Heart Aches as a Soul Sister of Humanity. My Heart Weeps as a Parent. And My Heart Breaks as a Mother. Cameron’s life was not in vain but for the Strength of a Mother, her sharing of the Loss of her beloved Son and the questions it asks for answers from our society about its Support and Justice for the dearly departed and the Loved One’s left behind.

    May you all find peace and may Cameron’s trial set forward the wheels of justice to stop re-victimizing the suffering loved ones and their “gone too soon” children.

    Darlene (Vieville) Asselstine

  2. Debbie…

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and frustrations.

    I support you and your family 100% regarding this decision.

    The decision is a complete miscarriage of justice.

    Sorry for your loss and sorry you and your family were so profoundly let down by the justice system.

  3. Anonymous;

    It’s often true…

    The Court process becomes an insensitive game people with law degrees play while surviving family members sit on the sidelines essentially excluded from the process.

    Victims are under-represented in the system and that has to change.

    Thank you for commenting.

  4. Anonymous…

    I’m very sorry for your loss and disappointment.

    This case typifies just how profoundly broken our “justice” system really is.

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts.

  5. Angry Family Member..

    It’s always disturbing to me when the justice system exacerbates the pain and suffering a family already experiences with the loss of a loved one.

    It shouldn’t happen this way.

    I’m sorry for your loss and your disappointment.

  6. Another Angry Relative…

    We live in a City where life has become far to cheap..

    I don’t know what it will take to change it but I refuse to accept these kinds of decisions.

    I appreciate your comments and offer my condolences for your loss.

  7. Another angry relative

    I would also like to thank you for writing this story and pointing out what a travesty this is. This trial is a slap in the face for anyone that loved and cared about Cameron. It is as if he didn’t matter but Matthew did, even after what he had done.

    Cameron and Krasny had an altercation. Cameron left for home. Krasny left too, but to get a knife. He followed Cam and when he caught up to him he stabbed him 3 times. Cameron did not have a knife. How in the hell was that self defence? Krasny said he saw “red” and stabbed Cameron. That is “rage”. Matthew Krasny stabbed Cameron 3 times in a murderous rage. That is neither murder in self defence nor murder with provocation. It is premeditated murder. He had more then ample time to stop himself while he ran to get the knife, while he followed Cam and once again when he confronted him, but he did not. He chose to stab him. God help our society if we are finding this anything less then premeditated.

    During the trial, it seemed that nothing of Krasny’s past was allowed to be brought up. Correction, unless it was to get sympathy for him. It is common knowledge that Krasny has stabbed before. With trial by judge, is this information not made available to her? On the other hand any mistakes that Cameron, the victim, had made were allowed in court. It seemed more important to defame Cameron’s character, then to have relevant information about Krasny’s past brought into the trial.

    Cameron was just 16 years old and Matthew who was 28, knew that. That is different from two 28 year olds fighting. In a case where an adult murders a child, the sentence should carry an automatic 25 years. No exceptions.

    So when “Non” Justice Deborah McCawley, decides on an amount of time for Mr. Krasny to be put away for, I hope she keeps this in mind. The next time Krasny sees “red”, it could simply be a 10 year old pissing him off or hurting his feelings. Will she still consider that to be self defence or provoked?

    The police did their job, the prosecutors did their but the judge did not.

  8. Angry Family Member

    I would like to say thank you! You have no idea how much this means to a family after dealing with the loss of a special person. No one will understand the hurt, pain and anger of losing such a special person like Cameron to some low life (there are other words that I would love to say but not on the internet) that took his life from us. To add to the pain of missing Cameron our family has to suffer through the sorrow of watching Kim and Cameron’s brother struggle with their loss. Cameron became Kim’s rock at a young age. He was the person she turned to for moral support, his opinion and someone to make her laugh. Cameron’s brother was everything to Cameron. He too depended on Cameron for advice, protection and to make him laugh. Their rock was ripped out of their life and can never be replaced. They were a close family which has been destroyed.

    Kim’s memories of the final hours of Cameron’s life will always shadow her memories of all the good times. Please imagine, a mother trying to get to her dying son only to keep falling in the deep snow, to hold him in her arms while he takes his last breath. This is an unthinkable nightmare no parent should have to face. This pain makes it impossible for Kim to get back to any kind of normal living.

    Cameron was a handsome young man, we were denied the opportunity to share celebrating so many special days, like his 18th birthday, his wedding, getting his drivers license, and at least 50 birthdays. Its about time someone see’s how we feel and sees how this is so unfair. Thank you again you have no idea how much this means to all of us.

    The trial was a joke and embarrassing to our family. The judge should put themselves in our shoes.

    Thank you,

  9. Thank you for writing this article. I cannot explain how far the painful choice that Mr. Krasny made, reaches. I do not wish to explain who I am or how I am involved in this story, but the last four years of my life have been torn to shreds because of this murder. I’ve held on tight for the journey, believing that at least by the end of the trial, justice (or some small token of it) would be served. I believed that Canada would stand up and say, ‘this is unacceptable’.
    I was so incredibly blindsided by the verdict. It reopens wounds that shouldn’t be there in the first place.

  10. Justice system showed no justice this time. It was more about who can sell their story better!

  11. I am Cameron’s aunt and you are right we are a shattered family, my sister in law Kim Is the strongest woman I know, you can only imagine the pain and the nightmares that she still has and will for many years to come. The pain and suffering that Kim and my nephew Boe suffer everyday is unbearable at times. Maty has ruined our lives and our faith in the justice system is gone. Maty had a choice to use his words or walk away but NO he made a decision to go back into his house grab a knife, follow Cam and stab him 3 times in the chest. How is this only Manslaughter seriously makes no sense to us. That judge made us feel as if Cameron deserved to be murdered, that he provoked Maty, come on nobody deserves to be murdered, Cameron was an amazing guy he had the hugest heart for family and animals, he was a great kid and we miss him so much. Thank you for this article it made us realize that there is still some good knowledgeable people, in our justice system.

  12. The unfortunate truth of the state of “justice” is the one that tells a better story wins. There is no sense of rational judgement by those passing it anymore. This perhaps will not change unless the “Criminal” term is removed from the Criminal Justice System and we simply state the Justice System. This may come across as a witless banter but the perception it seems is the only justice is for criminals. People are preoccupied with everything other than right and wrong, by deflecting from the issue. The statement “He had no choice but to resort to the knife,” is garbage (oh wait the one that tells the better story wins)… back on track. The fact is there are always choices. I have seen a lot of violent face to face scenarios and have been stuck in the middle of some. The reality is once you go beyond the bullshit… knowing you can hurt someone but choosing not to is where the power of choice and adult responsibility weighs in. If all else fails you remove yourself from the scenario which is easier said than done in many cases but is absolutely 100% possible without “bitching out” as some like to claim. A real case scenario involved a grown man who was drinking and arguing with a female woman in a back lane. My 14 year old nephew was walking past on his way home. The male redirected his anger toward my nephew. This occurred directly outside my back yard and I immediately intervened. The male wasted no time throwing a punch at me. This is where choice comes in. I avoided the assault by the male and created separation between him, my nephew and myself. My nephew who is a very powerful kid went to attack the male but I stopped him and deflected another attempted assault by the male. I continued to speak to the male while this was happening. My nephew was directed to go to the house and the male who did start to pursue was provided a choice and chose not to. The tragic simplicity of such cases is that the key component requires people to get over themselves which we all know is one of the hardest things for a person to do and that overflows into most aspects of society these days. We are stuck in a rut where we highlight all the bad about “good” and all the good about “bad”, bitch about it and aimlessly point blame when it is society (aka: us) that builds the model by which each operates. Until we direct a clear message that violence is not acceptable and that decisions / rulings such as this are not acceptable there will be no change and the Criminal Compromise System will continue to feed off of the mixed messages society feeds it.

  13. I find it interesting that everyone wants to persecute the officer who shot Michael Brown. It’s easy to sit back and talk of such great injustice when we aren’t the dog in the fight.

  14. What does the Michael Brown shooting have to do with this case? Completely different scenario, this was a fight at a party between two individuals of similar physical stature. Let’s forget about the difference in age. I fail to see how it was necesary for the older more “mature” individual to use a knife in this altercation. He should have been convicted of 2nd degree murder. It’s a shame that criminal lawyers are so good at what they do, and that judges don’t have enough conviction to hand out stiffer sentences. And as far as anyone who wants to pile on the officer that shot Michael Brown, put yourself in the same situation as that cop was in and ask yourself what you would do.

  15. No, the real problem is certain segments of the public have very little understanding regarding use of force and as a result, they tend to buy into the false narratives perpetuated by main stream media.

    Those false narratives fuel the hate and distrust many of them seem to have for law enforcement.

    I’m guessing you don’t see how the, “size matters” component of the story supports the justification for the Michael Brown shooting.

    It’s clear the Grand Jury understood that a goal oriented suspect with a significant size and strength advantage caused Officer Wilson to have a reasonable fear for his life.

    It amazes me that people still want to ignore the forensics and other evidence that supports the conclusion the shooting was justified.

    The whole “militarization” issue is another concept that’s being completely overblown by the media.

    But thats another story…

    Thank you for commenting.

  16. Interesting that your verbage, especially in light of the number of police killings in the US are the same as those that believe most of them are unwarranted and often the result of a situation that the police escalate.
    “size really does matter”
    “comes down to reality based fear”
    “justified in using the weapon to defend himself from suffering serious bodily harm or death
    had no reason to believe his life was in danger.”
    ” over-reacted to a situation that could have easily been settled with words, simple words”
    “As the mature, adult man in the equation,……had an obligation to mediate the argument and not escalate it with the use of a deadly weapon.”
    While not all police support the escalation of police violence the problem is the majority of police don’t aggressivly oppose the type of behavior you correctly identify. The problem is that not agressively opposing it is seen as condoning it and there for justifies it as an example for those with less that altruisic intent. It “sets the bar so low for societal standards of behaviour” that the moral example, once personified by police is going and the new norm is becoming unfotunately violent. Fortunately, that degree of militaization doesn’t seem to have hit Winnipoeg……yet.

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