Eric Lindstrom, 41, is led into the Superior Court of Justice Friday, Oct. 19, 2012.
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THUNDER BAY -- Eric Lindstrom was sentenced to 10 years in prison minus time served Friday after pleading guilty to manslaughter in connection with the death of a 36-year-old Thunder Bay man in 2009.
Lindstrom and Christopher Gregorchuk were arrested in March 2009 and charged with the second-degree murder of Richard Ouimet. The two were also charged with and found guilty of indignity to human remains.
The accused was sentenced Friday by Justice Helen Pierce to eight years for manslaughter and two years for the indignity charge to be served consecutively. Lindstrom was given a two-for-one credit for time served pre-sentence, which adds up to seven years and two months.
He will serve another two years and 10 months in jail.
The court heard that Lindstrom and Gregorchuk were attending a party at Ouimet’s Norah Street apartment, where Lindstrom had also been staying, on March 19, 2009.
Alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, marijuana and pills, were ingested and most people left the party around 1:30 a.m. on March 20.
A witness overheard Lindstrom tell Gregorchuk how he had been disrespected by Ouimet earlier in the evening and that he’d been threatened with a steel bar and that the victim would have to pay.
Ouimet left the apartment and later returned when he was confronted by Lindstrom and Gregorchuk. The same witness told police that through an adjoining room she saw Ouimet bound with television cords, beaten and kicked.
The witness checked on Ouimet who was bloody, but breathing and trying to move. About 20 minutes later, he had stopped breathing. She then told Lindstrom and Gregorchuk and said the two accused seemed shocked.
Lindstrom unsuccessfully tried to revive the victim with chest compressions and CPR.
The two men then decided to get rid of the body. They put Ouimet’s body in a blanket and wrapped it in a carpet and then placed it in a car they borrowed from a friend.
They drove north up Highway 527, turned onto a bush road south of Gull Bay First Nation. They dug a shallow pit and set Ouimet’s body on fire.
Lindstrom came across a bush worker who asked about the pit. Lindstrom told him he was cooking some food. Then he and Gregorchuk left and drove back to the city.
The bush worker went back to the pit and discovered Ouimet’s burnt body and called police.
The witness from the apartment called the police on March 21, 2009, scared of what she had seen. Gregorchuk was arrested the following evening and confessed his involvement in the incident.
Lindstrom was later arrested at a coffee shop in Westfort.
Pieces of I.D. were found with Ouimet’s body and DNA confirmed the victim’s identity. A post-mortem revealed the cause of death to be blunt force trauma to the head.
Lindstrom expressed his remorse when addressing the court, saying he is extremely ashamed of his actions.
“I made some very bad decisions. I’m sorry,” he said.
Justice Pierce said the incident was a cowardly act, having killed Ouimet and then attempting to dispose of his body.
She called it “heinous” and said that parity in sentencing is something the court strives for.
Lindstrom’s sentence was the same as Gregorchuk, who was sentenced to 10 years minus time served on a two-for-one credit in January 2011.
Lindstrom’s lawyer Devin Bains said his client is a very gentle person and although he has a criminal record, it’s not a record of violence, but one a person receives when they are poor or suffering from mental illness and addictions like his client.
“He has always taken the position that he participated in the death of a human being, which has been horribly troubling to him because he is such a good man,” Bains said outside the courthouse after Lindstrom was sentenced.
“He admitted to kicking the deceased in an unpleasant confrontation that had a lot to do with the consumption of substances that impaired everybody’s understanding of what was happening,” Bains said.
“It’s a very said thing.”
Bains said he spoke with Lindstrom many times about how he had a substantial and powerful defense, but his client always wanted to admit wrongdoing he felt had happened.
“The sentence is really one that Mr. Lindstrom brought upon himself. He always thought he should share equally in the blame for what happened to the deceased,” said Bains.
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