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Man gets 4-1/2 year sentence after beating victim freezes to death

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A Winnipeg man has been sentenced to four-and-a-half years in prison for leaving a beating victim to freeze to death in a snowbank.

James Morrisseau, 28, pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year for the January 2011 death of 48-year-old Zenon Bozynski. He returned to court Monday to learn his fate.

The Crown was seeking a six-year sentence for Morrisseau, while his lawyer asked for three years of custody. Queen’s Bench Justice Chris Martin met them both in the middle.

Morrisseau was set to be sentenced last week, but the matter was delayed after he was arrested for a violent attack on his girlfriend. The domestic assault charge remains before the courts.

Crown attorney Deann Sahulka told court that Bozynski was drunk and unable to find his keys for his apartment when he began knocking on the door of a nearby Redwood Avenue rooming house just after 3 a.m.

The resident, a young woman, became frightened and called police to say she believed someone was trying to break in. She also texted her brother, Morrisseau, who arrived on scene.

Morrisseau admits assaulting Bozynski and leaving him in a snowbank in the -32 C weather with no jacket.

Police never responded to the woman’s original call. Police told the Free Press the woman  called back an hour later, cancelling her request.

Police were eventually dispatched at 9 a.m. -- but only because a resident reported finding Bozynski’s body, court was told. An autopsy revealed he had died of hypothermia.

Morrisseau was originally charged with second-degree murder, but the Crown agreed to reduce the charge in exchange for a guilty plea.

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