deadmonton 2011 - eric dexter janvier

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Eric Dexter Janvier, 44, was stabbed on July 30th, 2011.

Janvier was Edmonton's 33rd homicide victim of the year.

Monwat Akool Madood, 21, was charged with second-degree murder.

dead because he was homeless | memorial | media temptation

Edmonton Sun/CTV Edmonton images

It was hard to figure what someone was thinking ... stabbing a man sleeping on a bench in broad daylight under the watch of surveillance cameras.

But that's what happened on July 30th, 2011, in front of the Boyle Street Services building at 10116 105 Avenue.

A community worker called the death "senseless, random, awful," and it was the second murder of a homeless man in the city's core in just two days.

At about 3:00 p.m. on a sunny Saturday afternoon, police descended on the scene after a report of a stabbing came in.

EMS also responded and transported an injured man to hospital where he died a short time later.

Edmonton Sun/Global Edmonton images

Homicide detectives were called out and soon the suspicious death was upgraded to murder – the city's fourth in a week and 33rd of the year.

One veteran officer was quick to put the murder in perspective.

Global Edmonton image

"He was just sleeping on the bench, minding his own business doing nothing," detective Bill Blark said.

"It was a senseless callous act and I don't have an explanation for you."

The act also left area residents and witnesses baffled and shocked – read more »

The man's death was also yet another close to Edmonton's Avenue of Nations.

The stretch along 107th Avenue between 93rd and 116th Streets has now seen 29 homicides over the past two decades see Problems persist on the Avenue of Nations.

CTV Edmonton image

"The victim was asleep on the bench," detective Dale Johnson later echoed. "He was approached by the suspect and stabbed.

"There was no interaction between the two, but there may have been in the preceding hours and minutes. We're looking at the possibility there was some sort of connection between them."

The officer said the fact that it was all caught on camera made their investigation and the Crown's future prosecution that much easier.

"Based on the video, it just shows sort of a random attack," Johnson said.

"It is a very unnerving scenario to play out. What it does depict does indicate it may be a random act."

Watching the video with police was Julian Daly, executive director of Boyle Street Community Services.

CBC Edmonton image

"It's so senseless, it's so shocking," Daly said.

Google Street View image

"A young man walked across the car park which is opposite Boyle Street, just crossed the road. Dexter was asleep on the bench. He stabs him and just walks off. Just like that – senseless, random, awful."

CBC Edmonton image

Daly said the homeless people saw the bench as safe place to rest.

Edmonton Sun images

Conspicuous surveillance cameras dot the building, with prominent signs warning of their presence.

"Our benches are one of the places in the city our clients can rest without being moved along," Daly said.

Most times, inner city violence is up close and personal, leaving those on the outside wondering how and why it happens. But viewing this unprovoked murder carried out on screen didn't offer much in the way of insight.

"An explanation doesn't make it better, but it can make sense of something like this. It's so hard to make sense of this one," Daly said.

Forensics staff and investigators made short work of the compact crime scene – see images »

Not only did the video offer great assistance to police, but so did the suspect.

As officers investigated, the man returned to the crime scene and was promptly arrested.

Police said the 21-year-old was known to them and they were expecting to lay charges shortly.

The identity of the victim was withheld until an autopsy and the notification of next of kin had been completed.

Edmonton Sun images

On July 31st, police announced that they had charged 21-year-old Monwat Akool Madood with second-degree murder.

Questioned at the scene about the city's increasing homicide toll, Det. Johnson offered what he could.

CTV Edmonton image

"I don't know what I can say that others haven't already said. We're busy, we're diligent in investigating all the homicides," Johnson said.

"For the time being we're keeping on top of all of them."

Edmonton Journal image

On August 2nd, just as the murdered man was being honoured at the spot where he was killed, police officially released his name, announcing that 44-year-old Eric Dexter Janvier had died from a stab wound.

In addition to being the 33rd murder of the year, Janvier's death was the fourth in a week.

Edmonton Sun images

One politician maintained that Edmontonians had no reason to be alarmed, while criminologists suggested that homicide was simply part of the city's culture – read more »

Janvier's death also had an impact on social workers and others in the homeless community.

CBC Edmonton image

"There's a lot of mixed emotions – a lot of anger, a lot of people frustrated, and a lot of the community members just don't know how to feel," said Gary Moostoos, a cultural support worker with Boyle Street Community Services.

Coming just two days after the death of 30-year-old Eric Larry Cardinal – stabbed in Mary Burlie Park three blocks away – the wave of close-to-home violence had inner-city advocates concerned – read more »

Dead because he was homeless

CBC Edmonton image

"Dexter died, in my view, because he was homeless," Boyle Street Services executive director Julian Daly said.

Edmonton Journal image

The shelter the Boyle Street Co-op offers wasn't available the day Janvier was stabbed as the drop-in centre closes weekends during the summer.

Daly said he believed if he had the funding to stay open every day, Janvier would be still alive.

"If we had the money to open our drop-in on the weekend and staff it properly, I'd do it next weekend," he said.

"Resources need to be put in place for weekends for places for our community to go to," support worker Moostoos said.

After a decade of living on the streets, Janvier was set to be housed under the Boyle Streeet Community Services housing program.

A move-in date was scheduled for just three days after he was stabbed. Those who knew him said he was excited at the prospect of cooking his own meals and shopping for personal belongings.

The claim that Janvier died because he was homeless echoed a death inside the Edmonton Remand Centre earlier in the year.

On May 12th, 2011, 59-year-old Barry Raymond Stewart died in a holding cell after choosing to spend a night in jail over paying a $110 fine for failing to provide proof of payment on the LRT.

Justin Caldwell Somers, 25, was charged with second-degree murder in connection with Stewart's death. Reports circulated that Somers – an inmate who was supposed to be housed separately due to mental health issues – stomped on Stewart's head 15 times.

"When we put people in prisons for non-payment of fines, it shouldn't result in their deaths," MacEwan University criminologist Bill Pitt said.


CTV Edmonton image

Around a makeshift memorial, many gathered to pay tribute to Eric Dexter Janvier.

"He may have been homeless. He may not have had a home, but he belonged to a community, he belonged here," support worker Gary Moostoos said – read more »

Media temptation

Edmonton Sun image

Crime scenes often leave behind graphic reminders of what has taken place.

Before the general public and media are allowed back into such an area,
the evidence is usually cleaned up and washed away.

Still, some evidence remains ...
and the question then becomes, how explicitly do you show it? – read more »

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