Manitoba man sentenced to life for setting man on fire, walking away

Police investigate the day after Gerald Dumas, 47, was set on fire in a back lane.



WINNIPEG -- Minutes after setting Gerald Dumas on fire, Gaston Genaille walked past the still burning man and bought some doughnuts, a court heard Wednesday.

"The extreme nature of what he did remains incomprehensible," said Crown attorney Mary Goska, who described Genaille's actions as "shockingly evil."

Genaille, 22, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for the Sept. 10, 2010 attack. On Wednesday he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 10 years.

Court heard Genaille doused Dumas with a flammable liquid he found in Dumas' pocket and then ignited him with a lighter.

Dumas was ablaze for five minutes before paramedics arrived and extinguished the fire.

Dumas, 47, suffered first-, second- and third-degree burns to his entire body. He died in hospital two weeks later.
"No one would deserve what befell Mr. Dumas," Goska said.

It was around 11:20 p.m. when Genaille encountered Dumas behind Brothers Pharmacy on Selkirk Avenue and asked to buy a cigarette. A scuffle ensued. Genaille tripped Dumas, knocked him to the ground and rummaged through his pockets. Genaille found a bottle of "accelerant" and doused Dumas with it.

"Mr. Genaille knelt next to him, put the lighter to his face, ignited it... and left him to burn," Goska said.
One witness described Genaille walking away "cool as a cucumber."

Genaille walked to the nearby Merchants Hotel, where another witness confronted him. Genaille left the hotel, walked past Dumas, provided him no assistance as he burned, and continued on his way to a nearby Robin's Donuts.

Defence lawyer Gail MacAulay argued Genaille was scared of what was going to happen to him.

"There is nothing to suggest he stood there and enjoyed the pain and suffering," she said.

A psychologist who examined Genaille said he shows no signs of being a psychopath or sadist. A report by Dr. Kent Somers suggested Genaille's actions were sparked by "rash impulsiveness, based on anger."

Justice Colleen Suche agreed to a defence request Genaille be allowed to apply for parole after serving a mandatory minimum of 10 years in prison.

Court heard Genaille is mentally delayed, spent nearly his entire life bounced from one foster home to another and received little treatment or support following prior run-ins with the law.

While in custody, Genaille has shown "real potential for rehabilitation and a willingness to change his behaviour," Suche said.

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