I’ve often compared living the “thug life” in Winnipeg to driving down a dark highway that inevitably comes to a fork in the road. That fork in the road leads to one of two places – the morgue or the penitentiary.
My theory proven yet again by another Winnipeg thug killed on Wednesday evening in Calgary, Alberta.
Notorious gangster Joel Gary Geddes (31) was shot to death outside a home in the 500 block of Evermeadow Rd. S.W. just after 11 pm in what police called a, “targeted attack.”
In June of 2003, Geddes was charged with Manslaughter in connection with the senseless killing of Winnipeg teen Morgan Trudeau (18). Geddes beat Trudeau to death with a baseball bat after they became involved in, what should have been, an innocuous argument.
Trudeau’s death completely devastated his family.
The tragedy was only intensified by small “j” Canadian justice after Geddes was sentenced to a paltry fifteen (15) months in jail. Once he did his time, he only became more firmly entrenched in the Winnipeg thug life and gangster subculture.
“I always thought one day karma was going to get him because he didn’t change his lifestyle, he just got deeper into it,” Randa Campbell (Morgan’s mother) told the Calgary Sun after hearing about Geddes death.
Geddes case remains unsolved and is being investigated by the CPS “Guns and Gangs Unit.”
When I heard the news of Geddes death I couldn’t help but think of the other thugs I’ve arrested in Winnipeg who paid the ultimate price for living the thug life.
Execution Style Killing
In August, 2015, Clayton Thomas Korski (33) was found dead in his cell at the Stony Mountain Penitentiary.
In 2004, Korski took the wrong turn in that fork in the road when he shot Wilson Martinez (20) in a drug-related execution style killing. He was subsequently convicted of 1st degree murder and sentenced to serve a minimum of twenty-five (25) years in prison.
Korski was a drug dealer with alleged ties to the LHS (Loyalty, Honour, Silence) street gang.
On September 18, 2004, I put the grab on Korski while he was sipping a cocktail in a lounge at a local Hotel. It was high-risk, stealthy takedown orchestrated by Homicide Unit Supervisor Sgt James Roland Theissen.
The speed and precision of the arrest impressed Korski who remarked, “Was that you who took me down, wow, that was fast man.”
Korski was an amusing, fast-talker who thought he planned and executed the perfect murder only to find out his flaccid cover story just couldn’t hold up to the rigours of a meticulous homicide investigation and a high-stakes police interrogation.
The RCMP charged SMI inmate Tommy Raymond Miles (21) with 2nd degree murder in connection with Korski’s killing.
The Rabid Dog
When it comes to the “thug life” the memory of hard-core Indian Posse street gang member Sheldon Anthony McKay is never far from my mind.
McKay was a little man who stood around 5’6” and weighed approximately 160 pounds. His tattoos included the word “Indian Posse” in large block letters across his stomach, “Fuck You” on his right arm and above that, a depiction of the Tasmanian Devil shooting the finger.
His aggression, hostility and anger more than compensated for his tiny stature.
McKay held the noteworthy distinction of being a two-time killer.
His first killing occurred in 1992 and involved the vicious throat slashing of his girlfriend’s mother. As a young offender, 16 years at the time, McKay would benefit from soft Canadian Justice and get a second chance at freedom while he was young enough to kill again.
His second killing occurred a mere eight (8) years later on May 26, 2000 and involved another edged weapon attack. This time, McKay led a pack of frenzied gangsters on a murderous rampage that caught three (3) rival gang members “slipping” on Indian Posse turf.
Two of the victims survived the attack after being hospitalized for stab wounds.
Adrian Scott Bruyere (19) was not so lucky and died on the cold pavement as one McKay’s associates pulled off his shiny white sneakers, the very sneakers his mother recently purchased for him for his birthday.
During my testimony at McKay’s trial I was frequently distracted by the diminutive thug as he kept shooting me the finger as I provided my evidence. At one point I asked the presiding Justice to address McKay’s behaviour.
McKay’s lawyer, Martin Glazer, took a moment to have a private discussion with McKay and then advised the Court his client was simply scratching his nose. Mr Glazer suggested I misinterpreted his client’s innocent gestures.
When the jury convicted McKay I made sure to be in the hallway outside the courtroom to watch him do the “shawshank shuffle” down the hallway en route to the penitentiary where he would serve his life sentence.
McKay didn’t disappoint, I got the “Fuck you” and the “double birds” I expected from the angry little man.
As he walked down the hallway I remarked, “I won’t be surprised if that little psycho never sees the outside of a prison again.”
My intuition was correct.
In 2006, Sheldon Anthony McKay was murdered in the Stony Mountain Penitentiary in what police believe was a gang-related “internal cleansing.”
Rumour had it McKay was out of control in prison, leading or participating in assaults on inmates, ordering killings and “prison justice” in his efforts to control gang members, gang business and the distribution of cash.
Several high-ranking IP gang members were convicted in his killing.
McKay wasn’t the only gangster involved in the Bruyere murder to take the wrong turn.
In June of 2009, Wayne Roger Michelle (28) was fatally shot in the chest by rival gangsters in the 500 block of Manitoba Ave. Manitoba Warrior thug William Laporte (23) and a young offender (17) were subsequently convicted of 2nd degree murder in connection with his killing.
Michelle was convicted of Manslaughter in the Bruyere killing and was sentenced to four (4) years in prison in 2002.
Danny Richard Wolfe was a notorious Indian Posse gangster who is credited, along with his brother Richard Daniel Wolfe, with being the founding fathers of the violent Winnipeg street gang.
Ironically, I always thought of Richard as the more violent, dangerous sibling.
As it turned out, Daniel was a major player in a bloody 2007 gang-related home invasion that ended with the slaughter of two (2) people in Fort Qu’Applelle, Saskatchewan. (Three (3) others were wounded in the attack)
Daniel was convicted of two counts of 1st degree murder and three counts of attempt murder. He received a life sentence with no chance of parole for the mandatory minimum term of twenty-five (25) years.
In January of 2010, Danny was stabbed in the chest and died at the Federal Penitentiary in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan. Ironically, Wolfe was not the target of the attack and was stabbed as he attempted to intervene on behalf of another inmate.
His brother Richard is reported to feel a certain degree of regret for getting involved in the thug life.
In an interview with reporter Joe Friesen, Globe & Mail, Richard said, “I keep going back, thinking, ‘If we didn’t make this, would he still be alive?”
That’s the thing about regret, it’s always to late.
A Bullet for “Banger”
On November 1, 2010, Zig Zag Crew gang member and Hells Angel associate Daniel Benjamin Kachkan (34), aka “Banger” as he was affectionately know, was shot dead execution style inside his Barber Street home.
On June 2, 2005, Zig Zag Crew gang member Aaron Hannibal (31) was stabbed to death outside of an Elmwood 7-11 Store in broad daylight. More than a dozen people witnessed the attack.
Hannibal, a notorious drug dealer and gangster, was stabbed upwards of nineteen (19) times in the upper body, three of the knife thrusts pierced his heart causing him to bleed out on store’s parking lot.
The killing was believed to be the result of internal struggles within the Hells Angel’s puppet club.
Kachkan was charged with 2nd degree murder in connection with the killing but was subsequently acquitted in Court.
Many people believe his killing was retribution for Hannibal’s brutal murder.
The Butterfly Effect
Daniel Tokarchuk is a marked man.
On May 12, 2002, Daniel Tokarchuk shot and killed Trevor Savoie, a much-loved member of the Zig Zag Crew street gang, a puppet club of the Manitoba Chapter of the Hell’s Angels Outlaw Motorcycle Gang.
The killing devastated many of the gang’s hard-core members, so much so, a once respected code of conduct was sacrificed. The response to Savoie’s killing required a special “personal” message to be sent to the killer.
No longer would “family” be off the table when it came to gang retaliation.
On May 12, 2003, exactly one year to the day after Savoie’s killing, Daniel Tokarchuk’s brother, Kevin Tokarchuk (24), an innocent by any definition, was shot in the head and killed execution style as he tinkered in his garage.
Daniel was later convicted of killing Savoie and was sentenced to serve twelve (12) years in prison before he becoming eligible for parole.
He was recently awarded unescorted temporary absences allowing him to leave his minimum security facility.
Like many of the unfortunate souls featured in this story, many speculate it’s just a matter of time before Tokarchuk joins the unenviable list of the predators in this article who became prey.
For most Winnipeg thugs, it’s not a question of if it might happen, the question is when?
Prison or morgue?
That’s what thug life gets you in the YWG…