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Canadian soldier faces sentencing for killing gay man in Manitoba

Canadian soldier faces sentencing for killing gay man in Manitoba

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Ouimet says he stomped on Lacquette's neck because Lacquette came on to him
A Canadian soldier will be sentenced June 7 in the killing of a young aboriginal gay man in Manitoba that some are calling a case of gay panic.

According to testimony heard at the preliminary enquiry in April 2011, as reported in the Brandon Sun, Jason Ouimet  strangled 21-year-old Duane Lacquette to death on Jan 16, 2010, while the two were alone together in Lacquette's house. Ouimet, a gunner at a Canadian Forces base near Brandon, claims that he acted in self-defence after Lacquette came on to him.

The soldier was originally charged with second-degree murder but avoided a trial earlier this spring by pleading guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.

Alyssa Desrochers, who was a friend of Lacquette's, doubts the killer's claims. "I think Jason was down for [sex]," she speculates, "then when he wasn't drunk anymore he killed Duane in the heat of the moment."

On the night of the killing, the two men met in a Brandon bar. Eventually, they went to Lacquette's house with three young women. Ouimet expressed an interest in one of the women but passed out. The three women left and, when Ouimet came to, he claims that Lacquette was trying to have sex with him.

Ouimet, a muscular boxing champion, put the 5-foot-7, 165-pound Lacquette into a UFC-style chokehold, strangled him and stomped on his neck. He left the house without calling police and was arrested for the killing three weeks later.

The soldier has been out on bail ever since and continues to serve in the Canadian military. He pleaded guilty to manslaughter on a joint recommendation from his lawyers and the Crown lawyer prosecuting the case.

"The Crown accepted a plea to manslaughter based on provocation,” Crown counsel Jim Ross told the Brandon Sun. “Mr Ouimet's account is entirely consistent with all of the evidence in the case.”

Desrochers is angry that Ouimet will probably serve only a few years in jail after seeing his charge reduced to manslaughter. "If Duane had been a white girl, Jason would be getting so much more thrown at him," she says. "He'd get 20 years at least."

Stefon Irvine, a gay student at Brandon University who serves as the student union's LGBT commissioner, agrees. "If you flipped the shoes and put this into a heterosexual context, it would have been handled [by police and courts] in a totally different way," he says.

During the preliminary hearing, Ouimet's lawyers tried to make a case that Lacquette had a history of picking up straight guys. Irvine feels that's the equivalent of saying it's okay to rape a woman because "she was asking for it.”

Desrochers worked with Lacquette at a hotel restaurant and partied often with him. She remembers her friend as "always smiling and happy, always ready to go." Lacquette was out to everyone he met, including Ouimet. "He was very open about being gay," Desrochers says. "To him it was never an issue."

Lacquette's final post on Facebook was "Just dance . . . it'll be okay." He remains extremely popular on the social media site. A tribute group that was set up in his honour has more than 1,300 fans. Lacquette's friends and family members continue to post comments about him almost every day.

Comments

Hate Speech - Redux
As per my previous comment, I refer you to the following text from from the BC Human Rights Code: Discriminatory publication 7 (1) A person must not publish, issue or display, or cause to be published, issued or displayed, any statement, publication, notice, sign, symbol, emblem or other representation that (a) indicates discrimination or an intention to discriminate against a person or a group or class of persons, or (b) is likely to expose a person or a group or class of persons to hatred or contempt because of the race, colour, ancestry, place of origin, religion, marital status, family status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation or age of that person or that group or class of persons. (2) Subsection (1) does not apply to a private communication, a communication intended to be private or a communication related to an activity otherwise permitted by this Code. I was very patient over the week-end. I am filing the complaint by end of today. The text of the complaint will be sent to the Respondent's website (here) shortly.
...
i dont believe i ever said "I'm sorry for your loss but please don't seek any form of justice for your murdered loved one".. and if that is how people are taking what i said, i am sorry. all i meant is that you should cherish those moments you remember with him, and spend this time remembering him how he should be remembered. there is really nothing we can do now but remember. i did meet duane when he lived in brandon, i only met him once when i was with something that he knew, he was an awesome guy. and i know how it feels to lose somebody close to me, i do know that grieving is healthy but to an extent.. please dont take what i said and twist it to make me sound "insane" lol its just my opinion..
none
We don't really have free speech as Americans do, at least according to Canadian hate crime laws.
George type comments
I agree that Xtra should let such posts as that by George from Vancouver be left up in these comments sections. Xtra, like many other queer groups/organizations is a big supporter of free speech/free expression for everyone, after all pre Charter the right of free expression is what won many early battles for LGBT people. Censorship has been used against LGBT people and communities for a long time by anti-LGBT bigots. There is no good reason to copy the tactics of the enemies of LGBT people since that would mean sinking to their level. Xtra is the only newspaper online, at least that I've ever seen, that doesn't censor the comments on their site. Its all too easy for us, especially adult queers, who have created a world for ourselves where we don't ever have anything to do with people like George and so can be lead into a false sense of security since everyone in our lives supports LGBT equality. I think that reminding us that there are still quite a few people like George out there is a good thing. It reminds us that the fight isn't over yet, we may have finally achieved legal equality but are still far from achieving social equality. I believe its better to get people like George out in the open where everyone can see them for what they are and counter their anti-LGBT hatred. Hiding from the harsh reality of people like George doesn't do anyone any good. I respect Xtra for taking a principled stand for the right of free speech.
Response to Christine from the reporter
Thanks for commenting, Christine. You're entitled to your opinion about whether or not I write like a gossipy high school girl, just as Alyssa Desrochers is entitled to speculate on what happened to her friend when he was alone with his killer. But you're wrong about the way events played out after Duane Lacquette's death. Police opened up an investigation as soon as the body was found, not as a result of any confession he made to friends. And he was hardly truthful to police when they first questioned him. As the Brandon Sun's Ian Hitchen reported on May 1, 2012, the day after Ouimet pled guilty to manslaughter and the details of the preliminary hearing were made public: "Ouimet's friend and fellow soldier Kris O'Brien testified that, shortly after the killing, Ouimet told him what had happened and had claimed that he didn't mean to kill Lacquette. Police questioned Ouimet the same day he told O'Brien of the incident, but Ouimet repeatedly denied having anything to do with the death." You're right about one thing: Ouimet is indeed a former soldier. But only as of two weeks ago, and the news of his release from the military was only made public yesterday during his sentencing.
Selective reporting
Well done Xtra. You've got everyone thinking the guy killed Lacquette and just sat around for 3 weeks until the cops arrested him. As was reported in SEVERAL other papers, he reported it to a fellow soldier, at which point the cops began the investigation. ALSO reported in other papers, is that Ouimet is a FORMER soldier. As for Ms Desrochers' comments, slanderous, don't you think? And your printing is libelous. Seriously, I checked Google News to see what everyone's take was and yours is so sensational as to make it seem like it was written by a bunch of gossipy high school girls.
More to it ...
I believe that this was a consensual gone awry. Ouimet pleaded guilty--we ought to remind ourselves--to manslaughter. I believe he did so in a twisted sense of rationale believing it better that way rather than admitting publicly that they were having rough sex and he killed him accidentally.
Delusional
To Tom and any others who actually think xtra will lift a finger to delete hateful anti-gay comments, let alone take them to the police, sorry but you are sadly delusional. One really could call for the extermination of all gay people in the world in the form of a comment and it will remain here for all time. If you don't like it vote with your mouse and don't come back here. I come back here occasionally when I have nothing better to do and hope that it will be better but it never is. To mandee, you sound insane. "I'm sorry for your loss but please don't seek any form of justice for your murdered loved one". Even in the worst case scenario where the victim was indeed putting his hands down the suspects pants, yes the suspect has a right to do what he can to stop the advance but that doesn't go all the way to stomping on somebody's neck.
soldier vs 21
This is why I oppose plea bargains. They make liars out of all of us. The facts as reported point to second-degree murder. The Crown should be forced to present those facts at court, and if found guilty, the guy should be booted out of the military, and do prison time. Pleading guilty to a lesser charge saves him from defending himself in court, saves him from a harsher sentence, saves him from a worse crime on his record, and deprives everyone of the truth. Plea bargains should be illegal.
Hate Speech vs. Comment
Just a note of caution to "George" of Vancouver. Besides being an imbecile and lacking in one bit of humanity, your comments fall within the definition of hate speech. I have asked Xtra to remove the comment or else a complaint will be launched with the Tribunal. Second, I am forwarding his email blog to the VPD Hate Crimes Unit and asking them to follow up. I am surprised no one else have taken these actions so far.

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