Accused tells Winnipeg letter-bomb trial he knows nothing about explosives

Accused tells Winnipeg letter-bomb trial he knows nothing about explosives

A man accused of sending letter bombs to two law offices and his ex-wife testified Wednesday that he was trying to put an acrimonious past with her behind him and did not send the packages.

Guido Amsel also told his trial he doesn’t have any experience in putting together explosive materials.

“I have not sent explosives to anyone, any time,” he said

Amsel, who is 51 and the owner of an autobody shop, has pleaded not guilty to five counts of attempted murder and several explosives-related charges.

Far from planning to harm his former wife, Iris, he was trying to look to the future with his second wife and their two children, Amsel said.

“I had a wife, kids,” he told court.

“It was time to move on.”

He also had no ill will against the law firms the couple had used in protracted legal battles over money, he said

Amsel was arrested after three letter bombs were found in Winnipeg in July 2015. One exploded and caused lawyer Maria Mitousis, who had represented Iris Amsel in a lawsuit against her ex-husband, to lose her right hand.

The other two bombs — found at the ex-wife’s workplace and at a law firm that had represented Amsel at one time — were detonated safely by police.

Amsel is also accused in a 2013 explosion outside Iris Amsel’s home. The blast left a crater but did not cause any injuries.

Court has already heard the bomb that injured Mitousis was in a hand-held voice recorder and came with a note that told her to press play. Mitousis testified she did that and the resulting blast left her bleeding and with severe injuries.

Police later found two voice recorders in a safe in Amsel’s home. He told court Wednesday he used the devices for a variety of purposes, such as recording a conversation with a lawyer or playing with his children.

“We had Christmas songs on them.”

Amsel also said the handwriting on the letter-bomb packages was not his.

Court documents show he and his wife’s divorce proceedings started in 2004 and dragged on for years.

Even after the couple’s relationship was formally severed, he accused her of siphoning more than $3 million from the autobody business they had co-owned. He had taken full control of it after the divorce and said he discovered questionable financial transactions.

Iris Amsel denied all allegations.

In 2010, she sued him for money she felt she was still owed from their joint business. Amsel denied he owed her the money and countersued. The case dragged on for years and he changed lawyers twice.

The acrimony appeared to end at a pre-trial conference in March 2015. A memorandum from the meeting said Guido Amsel agreed that he owed his ex-wife $40,000 plus interest, dropped his countersuit and agreed to sell off vehicles and equipment to get the money.

An auction was advertised for July 11, but it was cancelled after the explosion at Mitousis’s office on July 3 and Amsel’s subsequent arrest.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Two roundabouts will be built at each end of the Highway 2 and McKenzie Road overpass in Red Deer County at the south end of Gasoline Alley. Major detours will be in place this summer while construction is underway. Photo by PAUL COWLEY/Advocate staff
Powerline work causes delays on Highway 2 in Red Deer

Southbound drivers on the QEII are experiencing delays Wednesday morning. Powerline work… Continue reading

Ponoka RCMP said Traytyn Okeymow, 22, was last seen at this residence at about 9:45 p.m. on April 4. (Photo contributed)
Missing man located by Ponoka RCMP

Ponoka RCMP seek public’s help

RCMP file photo (Photo by Jeff Stokoe/Advocate staff)
RCMP lay cattle rustling, drug and firearm charges in central Alberta

A cattle rustling investigation in Clearwater County led to firearms and drug… Continue reading

(File photo by Advocate staff)
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen delivers a statement after a meeting of the college of commissioners at EU headquarters in Brussels, Wednesday, April 14, 2021. EU Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen announced plans Wednesday for a major contract extension for COVID-19 vaccines with Pfizer stretching to 2023. (John Thys, Pool via AP)
EU reaches major climate deal ahead of Biden climate summit

Provisional deal reached after officials negotiated through the night

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

Opinion piece
Opinion: Federal budget spends more on everything with no plan to pay for it

The British politician Nigel Lawson once said: “To govern is to choose… Continue reading

FILE - Ted Nugent performs at Rams Head Live in Baltimore on Aug. 16, 2013. Nugent revealed he was in agony after testing positive for coronavirus — months after he said the virus was “not a real pandemic.” “I thought I was dying,” Nugent says in a Facebook live video posted Monday. (Photo by Owen Sweeney/Invision/AP, File)
Ted Nugent, who once dismissed COVID-19, sickened by virus

Rocker a supporter of ex-President Donald Trump

Gwynne Dyer
Bolsonaro: Suicide by COVID

‘Rounding into the home stretch, it’s Italy by a full length, then… Continue reading

Queen Elizabeth II during her visit to Red Deer, June 28, 1990. (File photo by Advocate staff)
Red Deer and the Royal Family

The recent passing and funeral of Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, in… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Tanner Pearson, right, celebrates after scoring against Toronto Maple Leafs goalie David Rittich during the third period of an NHL hockey game in Vancouver, on Tuesday, April 20, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Pearson, Sutter each score twice as Canucks dump Leafs 6-3

Most Read