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Court hears Manitoba man accused of killing family mentally fit to stand trial


A doctor has determined a Manitoba man accused of killing five family members, including his three young children, is mentally fit to stand trial.

Ryan Manoakeesick is charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his common-law partner, their children and his partner’s teenage niece.

Police discovered their bodies last month at multiple crime scenes in and around Carman, Man., a town of 3,000 people southwest of Winnipeg.

A prosecutor said the results of the doctor’s mental health assessment indicate a trial can go ahead.

Manoakeesick did not appear in court, but a representative for his lawyer says they have accepted the assessment.

Manoakeesick has been in custody since his arrest, and his next court date is set for June.

Police have said they were first called to an area outside Carman for a report of a hit-and-run, where 30-year-old Amanda Clearwater was found lying dead in a ditch.

Hours later, and 70 kilometres to the north, officers were called to a report of a burning vehicle. RCMP said the couple’s children were found dead there — Bethany, 6, Jayven, 4, and two-month-old Isabella — and Manoakeesick was taken into custody.

Further investigation led officers to the family’s home in Carman, where they found the body of Clearwater’s 17-year-old niece, Myah-Lee Gratton.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published March 7, 2024.

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