This story is picking up some steam!
A tenant in Calgary is facing second-degree murder charges after he killed his landlord!
Think you have it bad?
Okay, that headline was an awful play on words.
It’s hard not to come up with something to describe the situation though.
How many tenants hate their landlords? How many tenants say, “I swear I could kill that guy”?
The landlord-tenant relationship isn’t easy.
In downtown Toronto, we picture all landlord-tenant relationships as some guy that owns a bunch of turnkey condos, arguing with the tenants over whether or not they dinged the wall while moving in.
But use your imagination and think about how bad things could get in another city, in a different area, in a poor neighbourhood, and where landlords are actually slumlords. Landlords can turn off the heat, they can turn off the water, they can turn off the lights, they can change the locks, then can enter the premises without notice, and they can post eviction notices.
Landlords can be cruel.
However, in the case of the landlord out in Calgary – the one that’s getting a lot of press this week, it seems it was the complete opposite. It seems the man was a saint, and that he was simply taken advantage of.
This is from the Calgary Herald:
“Royal Oak Homicide: Landlord Opened Home To People Down On Their Luck.”
By: Clara Ho
CALGARY — Alexander Potoroka was a kindly senior who rented out rooms to those who needed help getting back on their feet.
His family says they believe the tenant accused of killing the 65-year-old was one of those invited to stay in Potoroka’s two-storey Royal Oak home.
“He was the kind of guy who would open his heart and home to anybody, especially those down on their luck,” said his sister-in-law Gail Potoroka from Manitoba.
“For this to happen, it’s just very shocking… Alexander did not deserve that.”
Police were called to Potoroka’s two-storey home in the 0 to 100 block of Royal Oak Drive N.W. at around 1:45 a.m. Sunday responding to reports of an assault.
Officers discovered Potoroka in the home in critical, life-threatening condition. He was taken to hospital but died late Monday.
Staff Sgt. Grant Miller of the homicide unit said two or three other people in the home held the alleged assailant until police arrived.
A tenant, 42-year-old Shaun Peter Desautels, was arrested and charged with uttering threats and aggravated assault.
Investigators are consulting with crown prosecutors to upgrade the charges.
Desautels is due to appear in court Friday.
He has a long criminal past, which includes a three-year sentence for choking his common-law spouse’s 13-year-old daughter, who briefly lost consciousness.
He also has prior convictions for violence, assault, assault causing bodily harm, sexual assault and impaired driving.
While police have not revealed what happened to Potoroka, his family say they believe he was strangled.
Potoroka was originally from Manitoba and grew up on a farm, the youngest of six siblings, Gail said.
He lived and worked in the Bonnyville and Cold Lake areas before moving to Calgary.
Gail said he owned and operated a small, independent courier company, and may have had one employee or partner in the firm.
“He was a hard worker,” she said.
Neighbours said Potoroka was always friendly and drove around in an old truck, which he used to deliver small packages.
It was early Monday when Gail and her husband received a call from the Foothills Hospital looking for next of kin. Gail said she couldn’t get to the phone in time but heard the message on the answering machine.
“I woke my husband up and got him to call the number,” she said. “He did and it didn’t sound good.”
He immediately packed a bag, drove to Regina, flew to Calgary, and headed straight to the hospital. Gail said her son also travelled to Calgary to lend a hand.
Family are now busy planning Potoroka’s funeral. But coping with his death and trying to understand why he was assaulted has been hard on his loved ones, she said.
“To do that is a very evil thing to do,” Gail said. “I can’t get my head around why any human would do that to another, especially one that has attempted to help you.”
It’s a sad story, no doubt, but the situation is not uncommon.
The landlord-tenant relationship can be toxic, and there are several other examples of this relationship getting dangerous.
In December, 2012, in Pahoa, Hawaii, 36-year-old, Jason Russell Jump murdered his landlord.
The cause of death for you C.S.I. buffs: blunt-force trauma to the head.
In White Bluff, Tennessee, where I’m sure everybody has at least one firearm, a landlord shot and killed one of his tenants.
In 2012, David Allen Clark was involved in a dispute with one of his tenants, and during the altercation the landlord produced a gun, shot the tenant, and killed him.
There’s very little information on exactly what happened of course, because the charges were dismissed! No trial took place!
This happened very recently; about three weeks ago, in fact. And why were the charges dropped? A “procedural error involving the victim,” apparently.
If you want to go back in time a little bit, here’s a nasty one.
In 1993, Ronald Wayne Frye, who lived in a trailer park in Catawba County, North Carolina, was evicted by his 70-year-old landlord via the old post-it-note on the trailer door.
So Frye naturally grabbed a pair of scissors, and stabbed his landlord repeatedly in the chest until he died.
The genius left the scissors sticking out of the landlord’s chest, so I don’t think the trial lasted long (just my opinion).
Don’t worry folks – Frye was executed by lethal injection in North Carolina in 2001.
But I’ve saved the “best” for last.
Sorry to use the word “best,” but aren’t we so desensitized as a society that we can all pretend this is an episode of Criminal Minds, and thus not feel any emotion?
In lovely, beautiful, quaint Mount Vernon, New York, the home of the first president George Washington, and the “#1 Rated Small City In America” in 1998, a tenant cut off his landlord’s head with a chainsaw.
Yes, you read that right:
A tenant cut off his landlord’s head with a chainsaw.
Don’t worry though – he beat the man to death with a baseball bat first…
34-year-old Justin Morgan Daly had just been evicted, and as in every other case, a dispute ensued.
The tenant – Mr. Daly, claimed that his landlord came at him with a steel roofing stake, and somewhere in the commotion, the tenant managed to beat the landlord to death with a baseball bat, and then cut off his head with a chainsaw.
You simply can’t make this stuff up!
On that tragic note, have a great weekend, everybody!
It’s supposed to warm-up to a balmy -9 degrees tomorrow.
Haaaa….that’s mean. But actually, it’s going to be plus-six by next Wendesday.
Who needs snow tires?