Victim in fatal Winnipeg shooting was previously convicted in violent Vancouver kidnapping

By | July 29, 2020

The man Winnipeg police identified as the victim of a fatal shooting last week had recently been released from prison, after serving a sentence for his involvement in a violent 2011 kidnapping in Vancouver.

Cody Alexander Sleigh, 31, was shot near the Osborne Community Correctional Centre — a halfway house at Main Street and Magnus Avenue for offenders who have been conditionally released — on July 21. He died two days later.

Sleigh had been released from the Saskatchewan Penitentiary on April 12 and was ordered to live at a community residential facility as a condition of his release, according to the decision by the Parole Board of Canada.

The document describes Sleigh as an “untreated violent offender” with a history of gang involvement and assessed him as a high risk to reoffend after his release. 

“Your criminally entrenched values and attitudes played a key role in your commitment to criminal behaviour for profit over legitimate employment,” the parole board wrote in its decision.

Police arrested Sleigh, along with a number of others, in Vancouver on Nov. 23, 2011, after they abducted and beat a man who they believed was involved in the drug trade.

A police integrated gang task force had been monitoring Sleigh and his co-accused for months, according to the parole board document. The investigation had found “a conspiracy to kidnap a victim for ransom money,” the document says.

The group put tracking devices on two of the victim’s vehicles. On Nov. 23, Sleigh and another man followed the victim to a Vancouver video store, assaulted him, and forced him into a rented van. The victim was hit in the head several times with a metal object believed to be a gun.

Police officers with the tactical unit moved in and arrested Sleigh a few blocks from where the man was abducted. The officers found the victim covered in blood. He was taken to hospital with a black eye, cuts on his head and two large “goose eggs” on the back of his head. 

Victim assaulted again

While serving his prison sentence for his involvement in the kidnapping, Sleigh and several others again assaulted the victim, who was also incarcerated, according to the parole document.

During the assault, which was captured on video surveillance, Sleigh punched, kicked and stomped the man, continuing to assault him after he lost consciousness. 

For his role in the kidnapping and assault, as well as an armed break-in in August 2011, Sleigh was convicted of 15 separate offences, including conspiracy to commit kidnapping, assault causing bodily harm and multiple firearms offences. He received an aggregate sentence of over seven years, with more than five years credit for time already served in custody.

According to the parole board, Sleigh described his upbringing as “a normal and healthy childhood free from abuse of any kind,” and there were no reports to suggest he had any mental health issues. 

The board noted Sleigh had struggled with substance abuse and described him as “socially unaware and having a disregard for others,” and for the harm he had caused to “the victims and society in general” through his actions.

Intimidated inmates: parole board

Sleigh was identified as a gang leader who manipulated and intimidated others, the parole board said. While in remand, he was housed in separate accommodations for his suspected involvement in “muscling other inmates for food.”

“You were also suspected of being instrumental in organizing and directing numerous assaults on other inmates and introducing contraband into the institution,” the parole board wrote.

Upon receiving statutory release in April, the board imposed a number of conditions on Sleigh’s parole, in addition to requiring him to live at a community residential facility, including requiring him to abstain from drugs and alcohol, avoid certain people, and follow a community treatment plan. He was also forbidden from returning to his home province. 

A Winnipeg Police Service spokesperson would not confirm whether Sleigh was living at the Osborne Community Correctional Centre. Sleigh did not have any criminal convictions in Manitoba. 

The homicide unit is investigating his killing. 

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