WINNIPEG — A man has admitted to killing three men in a case that sent chills through Winnipeg’s homeless community.
John Ostamas pleaded guilty Tuesday to second-degree murder for the deaths in April 2015.
The 40-year-old faces an automatic life sentence. A judge is to decide his parole eligibility on June 27.
Court heard Ostamas attacked Myles Monias, 37, in a downtown bus shelter and left him for dead.
Two weeks later, Donald Collins, 65, was killed in a back alley. Within a few hours, 48-year-old Stony Bushie was killed in a parkade.
Police at the time warned people living on the streets to be careful.
Ostamas, originally from Thunder Bay, Ont., had also been staying at a Winnipeg homeless shelter, investigators revealed after his arrest. They said Ostamas knew both Collins and Bushie, although they weren’t friends.
Ostamas has a criminal record that includes multiple assaults in the Thunder Bay area dating back to 2002, said police.
They also said they were alerting other jurisdictions to see if Ostamas could be a suspect in other crimes.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky said his client told police that the Winnipeg killings were out of revenge, but that’s not the case.
“He’s claiming, in the agreed statement of facts, that what he did was vengeance for people who raped his girlfriend,” Brodsky told reporters outside the courthouse.
“If he did exact vengeance and went out to find the people that did that, and kill them as a result, that would be first-degree murder. We’re not pleading to first-degree murder. That’s him puffing himself up.”
Brodsky said his client has mental-health issues, but it would have been inappropriate to argue he was not criminally responsible for the murders.