Winnipeg Police Homicide Investigators have laid manslaughter charges in a beating death that occurred approximately 837 days ago.
On May 30, 2014, shortly before 12:00 noon, a group of men came upon a man known to them who was sleeping in the area of the 600 block of Century Street.
The men proceeded to viciously attack the victim and subsequently fled from the scene.
Sometime later, a passerby discovered the injured man and notified police.
The victim was transported to hospital and was later pronounced deceased.
Police identified the victim as Wayne Michael Harper (31) of Winnipeg.
The cause of death was determined to be due to blunt force trauma.
Members of the WPS Homicide and Major Crimes Unit participated in the investigation.
On December 21, 2014, police arrested Oliver James Okemow (39) and charged him with manslaughter due to his alleged involvement. He was detained in custody.
Police indicated the investigation was continuing.
On September 13, 2016, police announced the arrest of a second suspect who was identified as Lionel Branconnier (51).
Police indicate Branconnier, a resident of a Northern Manitoba Community, voluntarily turned himself in.
He was remanded into custody.
Wayne Michael Harper was the 25th reported homicide victim in Winnipeg in 2014.
The year ended with a total of 26 killings.
All but one of the killings were solved – solvency rate 96%.
To date, Winnipeg has recorded a total of 19 homicides, 3 of which remain unsolved. (2016)
2014 – An Atypical Year for the Ultimate Crime
Upon reflection, 2014 was somewhat of a strange year for homicide investigation.
Police laid charges in two (2) homicide cases that took months to resolve.
On December 16th, 2014, Police announced the arrest of Shane Quon (44) who was charged with manslaughter in connection with the March 17, 2014 death of Roseanne Eaglestick.
Elapsed Time – 275 days to resolution
On December 22, 2014, Police announced the arrest of Oliver Okemow (39) who was charged with manslaughter in connection with the May 30th, 2014 death of Wayne Harper (31).
Elapsed Time – 206 days to resolution
The First 48 is a widely accepted industry standard when it comes to the time frame required for the successful resolution of homicide cases. If a homicide case isn’t solved in the First 48 it becomes increasingly more difficult to solve.
The fact these killings were solved after a lengthy period of time elapsed is a testament to the commitment and dedication of the investigative units assigned to work the cases.
In addition to the lengthy case resolutions, 2014 went down as the year of the justified killing.
On April 19, 2014, a seventeen (17) year old male youth was stabbed to death by a thirty-eight (38) year old man. The investigation revealed the man stabbed the youth in self-defense after he was attacked during a strong-arm robbery.
On May 18, 2014, Marlon Dean Laronde (33) died from blunt force trauma after a forty-five (45) year old man assaulted him while intervening in a domestic dispute.
Both cases were reviewed by Justice Officials who determined the homicides were justifiable and no reasonable likelihood of conviction existed in either case.
While such findings are not unprecedented, it is extremely rare that two such cases occurred in the same year.