LOCAL NEWS

Police Calling Austin Street Fire Deaths Homicide

eb3cb90e28f11c3e81584d04ee44408be273e4dd1bb4114195f1_1280_fireThe Winnipeg Police Service is calling two tragic deaths homicide.

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 report 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 indicate evidence suggests the fire was deliberately set.

The investigation is continuing by members of the Homicide Unit. Anyone with information that may assist investigators is asked to call (204) 986-6508 or Crime Stoppers at 204-786-TIPS (8477).

Campbell and Bendon are the 15th and 16th reported homicides in the City of Winnipeg this year.

Four cases remain unsolved – solvency rate 75%.

2015 Homicide Stats:

The 15th homicide of the year was recorded on July 20.

The 16th homicide of the year was recorded on August 22.

Total homicides at year end – 23.

Insider Commentary;

This is not the first case of arson involved homicide members of the Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Unit have worked this year.

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.

The Victims:

  • 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

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