Over a year after a brutal murder took place in the parking lot of Assiniboine Park, two teenage individuals from Manitoba have admitted their guilt, pleading to charges of second-degree murder. The victim was Paul Enns, a 43-year-old man originating from Winnipeg. His lifeless body was located inside his vehicle during the predawn hours of February 26, 2022.
The adolescent offenders—a 15-year-old girl from Stonewall and a 17-year-old boy from Warren—were charged with the murder of Enns and presented before Manitoba’s Court of King’s Bench on Monday. The court session carried out in the presence of their family members as well as the bereaved family of the victim. In accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the identities of these young defendants must remain undisclosed.
The court came to know that the teenage culprits had allegedly plotted their vicious assault under the pretext of a romantic liaison. As loved ones of Enns attended the gallery, they excused themselves when the statement of facts delineating the murder specifics was read aloud. This statement revealed that the teenagers were in a relationship when the killing took place. It came to light that the male assailant had already been involved in a ‘physically hostile encounter’ with Enns.
On the day of the horrific incident, the youthful culprits exchanged numerous messages with Enns. They planned to rendezvous at Assiniboine Park, proposing a romantic meet-up. The attack leading to Enns’s death unfolded in the park’s parking lot. As per the Crown Prosecutor Jodi Koffman’s narration of a mutually accepted statement of facts, the girl initiated the fatal assault by stabbing Enns with a specially sharpened screwdriver inside his car, while the boy lay in wait outside. He subsequently joined in the violence, attacking mercilessly with his fists and a baseball bat.
The brutality of the assault was made evident by an autopsy report which illustrated extensive injuries. Enns was found unresponsive in the backseat of his parked car by park security guards shortly before 3 a.m. His car was splattered with blood both inside and in the surrounding snow.
After the barbaric act, the adolescent culprits supposedly boasted about their crime. They met a friend from high school at a gas station where they flaunted the belongings they stole from their victim – his car keys, vaccination card, and driving license. They, without remorse, went on to make purchases at Polo Park shopping centre in Winnipeg with Enn’s credit card.
The decision to bring about this ghastly murder came to light when it was disclosed one of the culprits had suggested to his friend that they ‘jump a pedo.’ Despite being promised $300, his friend chose not to participate in the crime. Their lack of remorse or fear of getting caught was evident as they discussed the murder and their victim’s pleas for mercy.
A conversation between the girl and another friend suggested that the assault was triggered by their belief that Enns was a pedophile, an allegation mentioned but neither confirmed nor denied in the court proceedings.
In the initial days of March 2022, the young offenders were apprehended and have remained under custody since then. Despite also facing robbery charges, the Crown has halted proceedings in that aspect of the case. Both adolescents understood the gravity of their plea, waiving any right to a trial.
As the proceedings closed and the girl was being taken away, shackles on her hands and feet, she turned to her waiting family members and expressed her love, promising to contact them.
The Crown intends to push for an adult sentence for both teenagers. Should the court agree, a second-degree murder conviction could result in a life sentence with no option for parole for 10-25 years. The date for formal sentencing is yet to be finalized.