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Defendant in stabbing trial guilty of manslaughter

Dec 16 2011

Frederiko Kodiak Louie was convicted Thursday of manslaughter in the stabbing death of Mark Henderson, 35, at the City Metro Suites in the early morning of Nov. 11, 2010.

After considering evidence of Louie's drunkenness, B.C. Supreme Court Justice Robert Johnston concluded that the Crown had not proved beyond a reasonable doubt that Louie had the specific intent, required for murder, to kill or cause bodily harm to Henderson.

Henderson's aunt, Patricia Henderson, said she was pleased with the verdict.

"This is a crime of the disease of alcoholism. I am relieved it was reduced to manslaughter and I believe it's a fair verdict," said Henderson, who sat through the judge-alone trial. "My greatest wish is that Mr. Louie receive the help he so obviously needs."

Defence lawyer Robert Mulligan called the manslaughter verdict a good result. "There is a wide judicial discretion for manslaughter which is better than the controversial mandatory minimum sentences for murder," said Mulligan. "This is another example of how fortunate we all are to have a judicial process based on principle, evidence and reason."

Mulligan wanted to acknowledge the tragic loss of Henderson's life.

"Unhappily, that loss isn't the only cause of sadness, as we see in the lives of others who testified in the case. Mr. Louie's personal story is heartbreaking too. The good thing is, once again, we can expect a fair and thoughtful judgment at sentencing as well."

A date for sentencing will be set March 14. Johnston has ordered a pre-sentence report with a Gladue component to consider Louie's aboriginal heritage.

Johnston accepted the evidence of witness Roger Morrow, who told the court he had never seen Louie, a 27-year-old who suffers from fetal alcohol syndrome, as intoxicated as he was that night. Morrow testified that he watched Louie walk quickly towards Henderson "with a drunken-like wobble" just before the stabbing. Another witness said Louie was "half in the bag."

Louie told Sgt. Scott McGregor he thought he caught the knife in Henderson's clothes, noted Johnston.

Court heard that Louie moved into the former Traveller's Inn on Gorge Road East on Nov. 9, 2010. On the evening of Nov. 10, Morrow went to visit Louie and saw an open case of 15 beers. About 10:30 p.m., they went to a liquor store and bought four 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor.

About 11:30 p.m., Henderson and his girlfriend, Laurel Hanuse, were drinking in Louie's suite. When they started talking about people who had died, Louie became emotional, picked up two knives and said he wanted to harm himself. Henderson intervened and pinned Louie to the bed by his wrists. The knives fell to the floor.

Later, Louie became angry at Henderson for drinking some of his malt liquor. He kicked him out of his suite. Henderson left, but began kicking at Louie's door. He wanted the beer he'd left behind.

Louie taunted Henderson and called him a goof. Eventually, he gave Henderson his beer. Johnston found this became the dispute that led to Henderson's death.

Morrow testified he saw Henderson pulling Louie by the scruff of his neck into his room. He sat on Louie and punched him. Morrow pulled Henderson off and Louie ran back to his room. Morrow testified he saw Louie coming out of his room with a knife in his hand and walk towards Henderson.

Johnston found there was no evidence Louie acted in self-defence. He rejected the argument that Louie was suddenly provoked and stabbed Henderson in the heat of passion. "On balance of all the evidence, I have reasonable doubt with respect to the charge of murder," said Johnston.

ldickson@timescolonist.com

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