It was a horrific crime members of the Winnipeg Police Service’s Homicide Unit were desperate to solve.
The arson related slaying of two innocent victims.
On July 7, 2016 at approximately 1:40 am, emergency services personnel were dispatched to the 100 block of Austin Street North regarding a working fire in a multi-family dwelling.
Police reported several people were transported to hospital as a result of the blaze.
Two (2) of the victims were pronounced deceased.
They were identified as;
- Brenda Campbell (51)
- John McKinnon Bendon (61)
Police confirmed evidence at the crime scene suggested the fire was deliberately set.
On July 7, 2017, exactly one year since the deaths, the WPS Homicide Unit announced the arrest of two suspects who were identified as;
- Jonathon Graham Barstad (34) of Winnipeg
- Edward Wade Beardy (35) of Winnipeg
Both men have been charged with 2nd degree murder x 2 and arson – disregard for human life x 2.
They were detained in custody.
Police indicate Campbell and Bendon were not believed to be intended targets.
Information received suggests the motive for the arson may have been linked to criminal street gangs and the drug trade.
In 2016, the City of Winnipeg recorded a total of twenty-six (26) homicides.
With the resolution of this crime police have now solved all but one reported homicide case from 2016.
On February 22, 2016, Marilyn Rose Munroe (41) was killed after suffering blunt force injuries. She was the 5th reported victim of homicide of 2016. Her killing remains unsolved.
The solvency rate for 2016 now stands at 96%.
WPS Media Release – June 30, 2013
It seems Edward Wade Beardy has had prior involvement in the criminal justice system…
The status of these charges is not known at press time.
This was not the only case of arson involved homicide members of the Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Unit worked in 2016.
On June 22, 2016, EMS personnel responded to a residence in the 300 block of Aberdeen Avenue regarding a working fire.
Upon arrival, David Sanderson (50) was removed from the residence and transported to hospital in critical condition.
He subsequently died from his injuries.
The investigation revealed Sanderson was seriously assaulted and died as a result injuries sustained during a violent attack.
In this case, the fire was set to destroy evidence of the crime.
Police charged Billy-Joe Linklater (21) and Lorie Knott (21) with 2nd degree murder and arson – disregard for human life due to their alleged involvement in the crime.
Austin Street – Scene of Horrific Arson Case
The worst case of Arson related homicide in Winnipeg occurred on July 16, 2011, when Lulonda Flett (36) intentionally set fire to the porch of a rooming house located at 288 Austin Street North in a vengeful criminal act aimed at two of her boyfriends relatives who she believed “snitched” on her to Police.
That vengeful act resulted in the senseless death of five (5) innocent victims who ranged in age from twenty-two (22) to fifty-six (56) years of age.
Flett plead guilty to five (5) counts of Manslaughter and received five (5) concurrent life sentences.
Flett’s lawyer Darren Sawchuk appealed her sentence arguing her troubled past diminished her “moral culpability.”
He also cited the fact her parents attended residential schools, she’d been a victim of historical sexual abuse and domestic violence as aggravating factors for consideration for a more lenient sentence.
The Manitoba Court of Appeal was not moved by the argument and the sentence stood.
Flett will be eligible for parole in 2018.
- Norman Darius Anderson, age 22
- Maureen Claire Harper, age 54
- Kenneth Bradley Monkman, age 49
- Dean James Stranden, age 44
- Robert Curtis Laforte, age 56