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article imageWinnipeg man gets minimum sentence for setting stranger on fire

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By Arthur Weinreb     Jan 10, 2013 in Crime
Winnipeg - Gaston Genaille was sentenced for setting a stranger on fire in 2010 because he refused or could not give him a cigarette. The victim later died in hospital.
Genaille, 22, appeared in a Winnipeg courtroom yesterday after pleading guilty to second-degree murder last October. He received the mandatory life sentence with no possibility of parole for 10 years, the minimum time of parole ineligibility provided for second-degree murder.
The attack took place around 11:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2010 when Genaille encountered Gerald Dumas, 47, in a Winnipeg alley. Genaille asked Dumas for a cigarette and when he didn't get one, he knocked the man down and went through his pockets. What he did find was a flammable liquid.
Genaille poured the liquid on Dumas' face, took out a lighter and set his victim on fire. He then left the burning man to go into a doughnut shop. Genaille later casually walked past Dumas while munching on a doughnut.
At the time of the attack, CBC reported Dumas was still on fire when police and paramedics arrived and a fire extinguisher had to be used before the victim could be approached. Dumas was rushed to hospital in critical condition with third-degree burns to his back, stomach and head. Much of the attack was captured on surveillance video and Genaille, then 19, was quickly arrested. He was charged with aggravated assault, robbery with violence and breach of probation. He was on probation at the time for a sexual assault.
The aggravated assault charge was upgraded to second-degree murder after Dumas died two weeks later.
Crown prosecutor Mary Goska is quoted by the Winnipeg Free Press as telling the court, "His actions were shockingly evil. He didn't do anything to try to put the flames out or to help Mr. Dumas in any way. In fact he walked away, as one officer put it, 'cool as a cucumber.' "
The Sun News Network reports Dumas' lawyer, Gail MacAulay, told court her client, who was afraid of what was going to happen to him, was developmentally delayed and had gone from foster home to foster home much of his life. A psychologist found he acted impulsively out of anger and was not a psychopath or a sadist.
In imposing sentence, Justice Colleen Suche found Dumas has "a real potential for rehabilitation and a willingness to change his behaviour."
In exchange for the guilty plea, prosecutors did not oppose the 10-year parole eligibility period.
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