Winnipeg Police Service Homicide Investigators wasted no time putting handcuffs on two scumbags responsible for the vicious sexual assault and beating of sixteen (16) year old Rinelle Harper.
On Wednesday, November 12, 2014 at 11:00 am, Police Superintendent Danny Smyth held a press conference at the Public Safety Building announcing the arrests.
Smyth advised charges of attempt murder, aggravated sexual assault and sexual assault with a weapon have been laid against Justin James Hudson (20) of Winnipeg and a seventeen (17) year old co-accused offender.
Smyth indicated the investigation revealed Harper met the alleged offenders while walking in the downtown area. As the trio walked on the river walk under the Mid-Town Bridge the suspects beset upon her in a violent attack.
After Harper was seriously assaulted she ended up in the Assiniboine River and was carried east bound for a short distance.
(It is not known if the suspects placed her in the water or if she fell into the water while attempting to flee from her attackers.)
After she managed to exit the frigid waters Harper found herself under attack once again, only this time, the men used an undisclosed weapon to continue the assault.
The suspects then fled leaving Harper in critical condition.
At approximately 7:00 am, a passer-by located her on the river walk and contacted EMS. Harper was subsequently conveyed to hospital in critical, life threatening condition but has since been upgraded to stable.
Smyth praised the efforts of a Division #11 uniform constable for putting several pieces of the puzzle together.
The officer was able to connect the dots on a previous case that occurred the same night at approximately 2:30 a.m. in the area of Portage Ave and Sherbrook Street.
During the incident, a twenty-three (23) year old female victim was attacked with a weapon and subjected to a serious sexual assault involving both male suspects.
Smyth indicated the WPS Homicide Unit was assigned to investigate due to the seriousness of the Harper incident.
On November 11, 2014 both male suspects were arrested and subsequently detained in custody.
The charge of Attempt Murder is often called the most difficult charge to prove in the Criminal Code of Canada.
In order to convict an offender of Attempt Murder the Crown must prove, beyond reasonable doubt, the accused had intent to kill, not simply intent to cause harm. In the absence of verbal indicators of an intention to kill, these cases are often plea bargained down to a lesser offence.
In the Harper case, the nature of the injuries, coupled with the fact the victim ended up in the freezing waters of the Assiniboine River, will be considered aggravating factors for the Crown to argue.
The fact some time and distance separated the two attacks should also support the Crown’s case.
The Crown is also sure to highlight evidence the victim was essentially rendered unconscious, had minimal clothing, was soaking wet and left for dead in freezing temperatures.
(According to Environment Canada the temperature at The Forks on Saturday, November 8, 2014 at 7:00 a.m. was -4.6 °C.)
If the suspects didn’t intend to kill Harper they certainly did everything in their power to ensure death was an almost certainty.
Word is they came as close as one could get.
Sources indicate Harper was all but deceased and only survived due to stubborn and miraculous life saving efforts of medical professionals.
According to several sources, the ER Doctors and Nurses are the true heroes’ in this story. A group of professionals seldom praised for the incredible work they do.
-Every person who attempts by any means to commit murder is guilty of an indictable offences and is liable to imprisonment for life