New, grisly details surface in case against accused letter bomber Guido Amsel as trial begins
Warning: Story contains graphic content and details
Day one of a 36 day trial for accused letter bomber Guido Amsel is now underway and is already bringing new details of the incident to light.
Testimony from two officers started the day, including the police officer who was first on the scene to help the lawyer injured after the bomb detonated. The second police officer who testified spoke to court about notes and messages found where the bombs detonated.
Amsel is facing five counts of attempted murder and several explosives-related charges after letter bombs were sent to his ex-wife and two law firms in 2015.
Const. Paul Barker was the first witness called as the trial began Tuesday.
The 11-year-veteran with the Winnipeg Police Service was the first officer to arrive at 252 River Ave, in July 2015.
Const. Barker was in the area on an unrelated incident when a bomb call from dispatch was overheard on his radio.
He said he was on scene within 90 seconds and saw a woman from the building entrance waving her hands frantically to get his attention.
That’s when Const. Barker was rushed in to the side of an injured woman, who he later learned was Maria Mitousis, a lawyer who had represented Amsel’s ex-wife in the couple’s divorce.
WATCH: Const. Barker speaks to media in 2015 about experience arriving at scene of explosion
He found Mitousis, sitting on the floor in front of her office, the door was closed and she was clutching her abdomen.
“There was a considerable amount of blood,” Barker said. He noted Mitousis had a serious injury to her throat and blood was running down the front of her.
He told everyone to get out of the office and he called for an ambulance.
Mitousis lost her right hand and suffered other injuries when one of the packages detonated.
“She mentioned that her hand stung. She wasn’t aware of the extent of her injuries,” Const. Barker told the court. He said her left hand suffered major damage but it was her right hand that sustained the worst of it.
“It was like an empty glove. The skin was still there but the flesh and the bone were gone.”
Const. Brian Raymond Neumann was the second witness called. He was involved in all three scenes in July where letter bombs were allegedly sent in the mail by Amsel.
His testimony Tuesday morning focused on the photographs taken at 252 River Ave on July 3. He went through at least 70 photographs taken, most of which centered around Mitousis’ office.
They found pieces of her broken eye glasses and lots of fragments of yellow paper.
The officer said there was an orange and purple pouch found on her desk. It’s believed the explosive was inside that pouch and was mailed in an envelope.
Paper fragments with capitalized handwritten text were found throughout the area around her desk.
Const. Neumann said he and another officer put together pieces of yellow paper that they believed formed a note that accompanied the explosive. While he said some pieces were missing, he testified they were able to read “most” of what it said after it was reconstructed.
“Hi Maria push enter to start. Listen to the conversation and phone me. Will help your defence.”
The numbers ‘95606’ on one portion of the paper which officers believe are part of a phone number.
During the afternoon, Const. Neumann spoke of the second bomb location at 597 Washington Ave. He told court the package had been bubble wrapped and was “neutralized” by the bomb unit.
Neumann said there was another message pressed into the copper body of the device. The device was shattered and police could only make out a portion of the message: “Turn what you sto ll your helpers of cr’.
The third bomb location Neumann discussed was 280 Stradbrook Ave. Neumann said the third device was inside the type of greeting card that has movement and made a sound when opened.
He said a “capsule” was found at the scene and after being digitally examined, a third message was found all capitalized: “REPORT OR WE BLOW YOUR HEAD OFF”
The trial is scheduled to last 36 more days.
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