Winnipeg woman was killed by youth known to her who planned out attack, Crown argues in court

A jury heard Tuesday that the killing of a Winnipeg woman in 2019 was methodically carried out by a youth known to her as the Crown laid out its case in the first day of the accused’s trial. 

The youth is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Lise Danais, 51, who died shortly after being found in critical condition in her house on Rockcliffe Road, near the Royal Canadian Mint, the morning of March 26, 2019.

The accused was charged close to five months later. He cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, and CBC News is not revealing some details in the case as they could identify him. 

In the Crown’s opening remarks, Prosecutor Erika Dolcetti told jurors it might never be absolutely clear why Danais was killed, but that the Crown intends to prove the youth was the only person with the time and opportunity to kill her — and had planned it out from the beginning. 

DNA evidence and video surveillance both link the teen to Danais’s death, Dolcetti said. 

Video surveillance shows the youth was the only person to leave and enter Danais’ home the morning she was found dead, Dolcetti said. 

His DNA was also found under the victim’s fingernails, among other items linked to the crime scene, court was told. 

Dolcetti said there was close to 20,000 pages of evidence extracted from the victim’s cellphone, which should shed light on the state of her relationship with the accused. 

911 call played for jury

Danais lived on a quiet street in south Winnipeg, and had been off work due to health issues for several months, court heard. 

The morning Danais died, the youth arranged to have Danais’ dog, who was very protective of her, out of the home, Dolcetti said. 

The youth returned to Danais’ home about an hour later. He called 911 about 10 minutes after that, saying he had found Danais dead, court was told. 

The Crown played the 911 call in court Tuesday morning. The caller was distraught and difficult to understand, sobbing uncontrollably throughout the call. 

Court could hear a dispatcher ask the caller several questions about what happened, including whether she was breathing. 

The caller said he doesn’t know what happened but that there was blood all over. 

At one point, the caller said he thought the woman was dead and another dispatcher asked why he thought that. 

Officer describes crime scene 

In the afternoon, the jury heard from the first two officers who arrived at the scene the morning of Danais’ death. 

Det. Sgt. Logan Binda said he found Danais in her bed with severe injuries to her head and that her face was unrecognizable. He said he noticed Danais was wearing a neck brace at the time. 

Police were called to Danais’ home on Rockcliffe Road on March 26, 2019. The first officers to arrive that day testified in court Tuesday at the first day of the accused’s first-degree murder trial. (Jeff Stapleton/CBC)

His partner, Const. Aaron Macaulay, later testified that while Binda attended to the victim, he searched the home to see if there was anyone else inside but did not find anything.

Binda said he couldn’t find a pulse and Danais didn’t appear to be breathing, so he started doing CPR. 

After the victim was removed from her bed so paramedics could continue applying first aid, the officer said he noticed there was a significant amount of blood on the bed and that some of it looked thicker, indicating it was coagulated. 

Both officers said they observed the smell of bleach when they entered the house, and that the smell seemed to be coming from the victim’s bedroom. They also said the accused was inside the home when they got there, and they didn’t notice any signs of forced entry. 

The trial continues Wednesday at the Court of Queen’s Bench.