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Sunday, June 8, 2008

Canada- Man returns to jail for killing inmate

6-8-2008 Canada:

Attacker's six-year sentence for stabbing likely to be served in isolation, Crown says

A 37-year-old man, released from prison in January after serving a lengthy sentence for robberies, has been returned for another six years, this time for the fatal stabbing of a fellow inmate at Joyceville Institution two-and-a-half years ago.

Dennis George pleaded guilty in Kingston's Ontario Court of Justice last week to manslaughter in the death of LeRoy Paupst.

George's lawyer, John Dillon, and assistant Crown attorney Ross Drummond joined in recommending the six-year sentence to the judge.

Drummond told Justice Rommel Masse that George was an early suspect in the stabbing, but investigators with the joint-forces penitentiary squad were unable to find enough evidence to charge him.

It wasn't until after his release on Jan. 21 and subsequent arrest on a criminal harassment charge that the case was made for them - by George.

Drummond said George called the penitentiary squad from a London, Ont., jail in February and confessed to the killing, telling them "he got into it with Mr. Paupst and he died."

He claimed then, according to Drummond, that "he wanted to deal with what happened and get on with his life."

Paupst, a convicted sex offender less than a month away from release, was stabbed and died from massive blood loss on New Year's Day, 2005. It was a single puncture wound that severed an artery, according to the Crown, contrary to early reports that Paupst had been stabbed a number of times in the abdomen.

Drummond told the judge that Joyceville at the time had "open inmate movement" around 5:30 p. m., which meant virtually the entire prison population - 440 men - was in flux and moving between their ranges and recreation areas.

He told the judge that Corrections

staff noticed Paupst stumbling along a corridor between a prison courtyard and an interior recreation area around 5:55 p. m. and saw him collapse near a small canteen. They went to his aid and subsequently had him rushed to Kingston General Hospital by ambulance. But Paupst was pronounced dead at 7:03 p. m.

Masse was told that an autopsy determined that a single stab wound had cut into an artery and he'd bled to death internally.

Investigators immediately secured the video surveillance tapes from cameras overlooking the courtyard, where the attack took place, but Drummond said the film only captured the backs of two inmates running away. One of them appeared to be the same height and the same build as George, he added, but the images weren't conclusive.

Masse also heard that prison staff recovered the weapon - a bolt, ground to a point at one end - discarded on the ground close to the attack site.

The shank was actually one of about a dozen homemade weapons recovered in the search that followed the fatal stabbing, but Drummond said it was established as the one used to kill Paupst when the Centre for Forensic Science identified his DNA on it.

Drummond said George was considered a prime suspect because he has a history of assaults on sex offenders.

Drummond told Masse a second DNA sample was recovered from the bolt and while George couldn't be excluded as the donor, there were insufficient alleles to determine the DNA was his.

Paupst, a 47-year-old auto mechanic, was nearing the end of the five-year sentence he received in St. Thomas, Ont., for sexual crimes against women and girls committed between 1986 and 1998.

His victims ranged in age from 11 to 48 and a number of his crimes were distinguished by gratuitous cruelty.

National Parole Board records indicate that he kneed one of his victims, a pregnant woman, in the stomach; bit a teenage victim's breast hard enough to draw blood; and held a knife inches from the throat of a female co-worker after choking her.

He also required his victims to testify at his trial, then declined to question any of them and changed his pleas to guilty at the last minute. It was a manoeuvre his trial judge characterized as "some sort of perverse last thrust at them, to put them through further misery."

It wasn't disclosed in court whether George knew any of the details of Paupst's crimes, but the judge was told he knew his victim was a sex offender.

Defence lawyer Dillon told the judge that his client claims his attack was precipitated by a conversation he'd overheard between Paupst and another sex offender. The men were talking in a prison bathroom, Dillon said, and his client heard Paupst talking about his approaching release and describing unpleasant things he intended to do to the victims who'd testified against him.

People in the institution see his client as "a good guy," Dillon told Masse, and overhearing that conversation placed him in an untenable situation.

Dillon said George couldn't report what he'd heard to the authorities without being labelled a "rat," but George views himself as a protector of the weak, according to his lawyer.

"He has a need to protect weaker people and he felt these victims were weak," Dillon said.

It was in that context, Dillon argued, that George confronted Paupst "and admits stabbing him." His client didn't intend to kill, he said, and thought he was stabbing Paupst "in a place that was unlikely to cause death." As it turned out, "it was a crap shoot and he died."

Drummond, in explaining the joint recommendation, told the judge that George's six years will be longer and harder than the time he's used to serving.

By confessing to the killing and admitting his problem with sex offenders, the Crown told the court George has created significant housing problems for himself.

"Virtually every prison in the [federal] system is an integrated system," he explained, so it's likely George will have to be isolated from the general population.

Drummond said it's also likely, though not certain, that the National Parole Board will make him serve every day of his six-year sentence.

Masse, noting the recommendation before him, turned to George.

"You took a life," he said. "I'm of the view, sir, that [six years] is somewhat light."

He accepted it, however, considering that "the Crown, the authorities had nowhere near enough evidence against you."

Masse said: "You turned yourself in. I give you great credit for that, sir."

He was also influenced, he said, by the likelihood George will serve much of his sentence in isolation and will probably have to serve all of it.

Masse made a recommendation that George receive psychological counselling to deal with his anger-control problem in the presence of sex offenders. ..News Source.. by SUE YANAGISAWA WHIG-STANDARD COURT REPORTER

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