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Saskatoon Homicide Year In Review 2010


Busy year for Saskatoon homicide investigators
By Lori Coolican, The StarPhoenix December 31, 2010

The past year was a busy one for Saskatoon homicide investigators, who responded to nine separate killings around the city in 2010.

Murder and manslaughter charges have been laid against suspects in six of those cases, while three remain open investigations. Here they are, in chronological order:

(For a detailed map of all the homicides in Saskatoon in the past five years, look below the main story)

Jan. 23:

Michael Paul Gruending, a 41-year-old heavy duty mechanic, was lying on the ground between two buildings in the 2100 block of 22nd Street West when police were summoned to the area by a 911 call at 2:47 a.m. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The nature of Gruending’s injuries has never been disclosed publicly.

Two days after his death, a 16-year-old male appeared in provincial court charged with second-degree murder in connection with the killing. However, the Crown stayed the charge on May 5. A police spokesperson said new information had come to the attention of the major crimes unit, but would not elaborate.

No further charges have been laid since then, and the death remains under investigation.

Gruending, a bachelor, lived in Saskatoon when he wasn’t working in Alberta’s oilpatch. He was a cousin of former NDP MP Dennis Gruending.

Feb. 5:

Dennis Weiman hadn’t returned phone calls from his brother Werner for several days, so Werner dropped by his house on Maxwell Crescent around 10:30 p.m. to check on him.

Werner found him dead on his living room sofa, with what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the head.

Two days later, police detectives went to Moose Jaw where they arrested Weiman’s 21-year-old son Jason on a charge of second-degree murder. A preliminary hearing is scheduled to begin Jan. 31.

Feb. 26:

Adrienne Ermine, a 37-year-old mother of four from the Sturgeon Lake First Nation, was fatally stabbed after an argument broke out among a group of people drinking at a house in the 200 block of Avenue Q North.

The owner of the house, Debbie Lynn Rodgers, was living in the basement and renting the main floor to Ermine’s boyfriend, Randy Netmaker. Rodgers, a 44-year-old mother of two, was later charged with second-degree murder in the death.

Rodgers was committed for trial in Court of Queen’s Bench following a preliminary hearing in September. No date has been set for the trial.

March 31:

The fatal stabbing of Tie Kyaw, a 40-year-old Burmese immigrant who had lived on Saskatoon’s west side for more than a decade, was reported to city police by a 911 call around 1 a.m. Officers found him outside an apartment building in the 1900 block of 22nd Street West.

A short time later, another 911 call led police to a second injured man, age 50, about three blocks away. He survived his injuries, and his identity has not been released. The two were acquaintances, but police believe they did not know their attackers.

Investigators sought tips from the public to help identify three “persons of interest” who were in the area at the time. No arrests have been made.

May 14:

Sandra Marie Ramsay was a tiny 41-year-old woman who lived at The Lighthouse, a downtown assisted-living facility. She was strangled to death by her neighbour, a violent sex offender named James Lee Busch, over a $20 crack cocaine debt.

Busch concealed Ramsay’s body in a suitcase, then dragged it from The Lighthouse to a nearby dumpster and left town. His effort to dispose of the body was caught on surveillance cameras. Hours later, a bottle-picker found Ramsay’s remains while rummaging through the bin.

Busch pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and is now serving a life sentence with no chance of parole until 2025.

July 20:

It was just before midnight when a passerby noticed the body of 20-year-old Ahmed Abdi Mohamud lying in the parking lot of a highrise apartment building on Sixth Avenue North. He had fallen to his death from an upper-storey suite.

Police later released surveillance video of five men entering the building shortly before Mohamud’s death.

More than two months later, manslaughter and robbery charges were laid against Ryan Waddell, 27, Malcolm Harvey Herman, 21, Preston Spencer Gamble, 27, Travis Alphonse Clark, 25, and Trevor Robillard, 29. The charges are still before the courts and no trial date has been set.

Police have said they believe Mohamud, a Somali immigrant who came to Saskatoon from Toronto, was a drug dealer using a customer’s apartment in exchange for cocaine.

Aug. 7:

Bert Haverkort, 47, moved to Saskatoon from Markham, Ont., less than two years before he died. His co-workers at the local Roofmart manufacturing plant knew him as a friendly, dependable, unpretentious man.

Haverkort was beaten to death inside the rented house he shared with a roommate at 1012 Ave. C North. His roommate, 32-year-old Jake Ottertail, is charged with second-degree murder. No trial date has been set.

Aug. 26:

Police were responding to a report of an assault in the 600 block of Avenue M South when they found the body of 23-year-old Anthony Gunn, a member of the English River First Nation.

Gunn’s identity did not become public until members of his family gave his name to the media. No arrests have been made in connection with his death, and little information has been released.

Oct. 17:

Police believe the early morning stabbing death of Jackson McKenzie, 31, was connected to his involvement in a local street gang.

Officers were called to the scene outside a bar in the 100 block of Ruth Street around 1 a.m., where they found McKenzie and another injured man, 23-year-old Devon Napope. McKenzie was later pronounced dead in hospital, while Napope survived.

Two people were subsequently arrested in Dalmeny in connection with the incident.

Randy Merasty, 28, is accused of second-degree murder and attempted murder. His girlfriend Tanya Beauchamp, a 31-year-old employee of the Saskatoon Correctional Centre, is charged with being an accessory after the fact.


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