The Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Unit has laid multiple murder charges against a suspect in the slayings of three vulnerable City men.
On Monday, April 27, 2015, Homicide Unit investigators located the “person of interest” who had quickly become the primary focus of their investigation.
Police have charged the “person of interest” now identified as John Paul Ostamas (40) years with the following criminal offences;
- 1st Degree Murder – victim Donald Collins
- 1st Degree Murder – victim Stony Bushie
- 2nd Degree Murder – victim Myles Monias
Police released the following details;
- On April 10, 2015, Ostamas killed Myles Monias (37) after he encountered him in a bus shelter on Main Street near Pioneer Ave.
- On April 25, 2015, Ostamas encountered Donald Collins (65) in the downtown area and subsequently attacked and killed him in a laneway near Hargrave Street and Portage Ave.
- On April 25, 2015, several hours later, Ostamas encountered Stony Bushie (48) also in the downtown area. Together the men attended a parkade near Hargrave Street and Portage Ave. Ostamas subsequently attacked and killed Bushie at this location.
Police indicate Ostamas is transient but has connections to Thunder Bay, Ontario. He is believed to have spent time in Winnipeg over the past ten years.
His only prior contact with the WPS involved a domestic assault allegation that occurred in March of this year.
Police confirmed Ostamas has a violent record for multiple assaults in the Thunder Bay area dating back to 2002.
Police indicate they intend to contact police agencies in other jurisdictions where Ostamas is known to have travelled.
Police credited the community and public for contributing to the quick resolution of these crimes.
Original press release can be found here – WPS NEWS RELEASE – JOHN PAUL OSTAMAS
The investigation is continuing.
As predicted, the WPS Homicide Unit made relatively quick work of the Ostamas investigation.
The investigation was significantly aided by video surveillance evidence captured by several area businesses including the Aboriginal Television Network (APTN).
The WPS press release indicates the video evidence, forensic evidence and suspect interview supported the charges laid in this case.
If you read between the lines, the release suggests Ostamas provided a confession to one or more of the crimes he now faces.
First Degree Murder Charges
I find it interesting that 1st degree murder charges were laid in two of these cases.
Did the evidence suggest the killings were planned and deliberate or is there more to this story than meets the eye?
Serial Killer or Not
It’s a valid question, one that was posed to Superintendent Danny Smyth at the WPS press conference.
Smyth stopped short of calling Ostamas a serial killer indicating, “I don’t know if there’s a definition for serial killer but certainly three murders is significant. ”
The Encyclopedia Britannica defines serial murder as, “the unlawful homicide of at least two people, carried out in a series over a period of time.”
Several contrary definitions of serial killer and or serial murder can be found on the internet.
Regardless, Ostamas clearly fits into the category of serial killer in that he committed multiple, unrelated murders over a certain period of time.
The ongoing investigation will undoubtedly focus on determining if Ostamas was involved in other killings prior to the time he murdered Myles Monias.
Mental Health Issues
One of the crime reporters at the press conference asked Superintendent Smyth if Ostamas had mental health issues.
Although Smyth declined to answer the question, Ostamas’ mental health will surely be an issue at trial.
The sheer level of violence used in the killings logically infers some sort of mental health issue may be present.
Not Criminal Responsible (NCR) findings seem to be more prevalent in today’s criminal justice system.
The key question will boil down to whether or not Ostamas had the ability to appreciate the nature and quality of the acts he committing or if he had the ability to know that what he did was wrong.
The case will surely be a compelling one.