Verdict expected for man accused of sending letter bombs to lawyers, ex-wife
WINNIPEG — A Winnipeg man is expected to find out today if he will be found guilty of sending letter bombs to his former wife and two lawyers.
Judge Tracey Lord is to hand down a verdict on charges against Guido Amsel that include attempted murder and aggravated assault.
Amsel was arrested after three explosive packages were found in July 2015.
One went off inside the office of Maria Mitousis, a lawyer who had represented Amsel’s ex-wife in a financial dispute.
Mitousis lost her right hand and suffered other severe injuries.
The explosive compound was contained in a hand-held voice recorder that came with a note instructing Mitousis to press play.
Amsel is accused of sending four bombs in all — the first in 2013 to Iris Amsel’s home and three in July 2015 to her workplace and the law offices of two lawyers. They had represented the former couple in a financial battle over profits from an auto-body shop they co-owned.
The letter bomb sent to Mitousis was the only one that exploded. The other two were safely detonated by police.
The 2013 bomb went off outside Iris Amsel’s home and left a crater in the frozen ground.
The trial heard that Amsel was convinced his former wife had stolen millions of dollars from him following their 2004 divorce as they continued to co-manage their business. A lawsuit was filed and, after years of legal wrangling, Guido Amsel dropped the matter a few months before the explosions.
He testified that he thought his ex-wife had stolen the money and that he came to believe she and Mitousis had paid off one of his lawyers, Sara MacEachern, to withdraw from the case.
MacEachern’s senior partner, George Orle, was one of the bomb targets.
Amsel also told court he believed his ex-wife sent all the bombs to frame him.
Amsel’s DNA was found at two of the bomb sites, but his lawyer, Saheel Zaman, said it could have been left there by other means. He pointed out that Amsel had browsed extensively through files at Mitousis’s office during legal proceedings after his lawyer dropped him and he represented himself. Zaman suggested Amsel’s DNA could have spread from the files to other areas during the explosion.
DNA found on string in the bomb crater at Iris Amsel’s home could have been from years earlier when Guido Amsel had lived there and used string to plant trees and build a driveway, Zaman added.
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