On April 24, 2010 at 4:49 am, I received a telephone call from WPS Duty Inspector Rick Sharma requesting I attend the Public Safety Building to run the investigation into the murder of Ronnie Kakegamic (21) years.
Unfortunately, members of the Homicide Unit had just retired from duty after working extremely long hours on an arrest related to the home invasion killing of Ricky Lathlin. As a result, the call had to be deferred to Major Crimes Unit Sergeant Ken Williams, an experienced and capable investigator & supervisor.
At 9:30 am, after the standard Homicide Unit four (4) hour sleep, I returned to the Public Safety Building to assist with the coordination of the investigation. After sitting down with Sergeant Williams I learned the investigation was a typical Winnipeg “shift fest.” (Police vernacular for an extremely complex and labor intensive investigation.) Investigators were in the midst of melting down several cases to determine which ones were relevant to the murder. Potentially related calls were identified as:
- 2:37 am – Theft of motor vehicle at 420 Maryland St
- 2:43 am – Five (5) males assaulting victim at 416 Maryland St
- 3:41 am – Hit & Run case involving a Spring Taxi
- 3:56 am – Fight call rear of 475 Flora Ave
- 4:02 am – Stabbing at Powers St & Pritchard Ave
In a bizarre turn of events, investigators determined a key witness to Kakegamic’s murder had been the victim of the mayhem caused by a crew of stolen car joy riders who were speeding up and down north end streets intent on running over bicyclists. The witness in question happened to be out on her bike looking for a friend who threatened suicide earlier in the evening. After successfully avoiding the murderous joy riders, the witness subsequently observed the confrontation that resulted in her friend Ronnie Kakegamic’s murder.
(Thankfully, there aren’t many Cities in Canada where you can go from being a near victim of vehicular homicide to eye-witness to a violent killing of a friend in the blink of an eye, unfortunately, Winnipeg happens to be one such City.)
Shortly after the murder keen-eyed Patrol Officers flooded the streets and managed to locate the seventeen (17) year old youth responsible for the killing. At the time of the arrest, the youth was found to be in possession of the murder weapon, an ornate knife with an 8″ blade and 6″ handle. CSI investigators subsequently advised the knife tested positive for blood, however, results of DNA testing would not be known for months.
Kakegamic was pronounced deceased at 4:56 am, the victim of multiple stab wounds that included a fatal shot to the right upper chest. He also suffered lacerations to his left arm, left cheek and the left side of his head.
Detectives working the case were able to separate the wheat from the chaff and put the pieces of the puzzle together. Witnesses associated to both Kakegamic and the teenaged killer provided critical information that removed any doubt where responsibility lay for the senseless killing. The combination of liquor, bravado and an edged weapon provided all the essential components for a random North End killing.
At 10:00 pm that evening, Sgt Williams told the sordid tale to Senior Crown Attorney Brian Bell who authorized charges of Second Degree Murder.
Crime Reporter James Turner put the finishing touches on the story with his report in Tuesdays Winnipeg Sun – “Nine Years for Stabbing Stranger.” The Young Offender, now twenty (20) years of age, plead guilty Tuesday to a reduced charge of Manslaughter and consented to be sentenced as an adult. Justice Joan McKelvey subsequently imposed a sentence of nine (9) years incarceration.
After receiving credit for time served, the young killer will have just over five (5) years left to serve on his sentence. “The offence of manslaughter is extremely grave and there’s no question (the accused) bears the ultimate responsibility,” McKelvey said. After serving just over three (3) more years, Kakegamic’s killer will be eligible to receive Statutory Release.
An accomplished killer at seventeen (17) years of age, a nine (9) year sentence for Manslaughter, and Parole before his twenty-forth (24th) birthday.
Such is life in Murder City.