POLITICS
11/22/2013 01:23 EST | Updated 01/25/2014 04:01 EST

Man who killed two Winnipeg women no longer charged in third death

WINNIPEG - A man recently sentenced for killing two women in Winnipeg is no longer charged in the death of a third woman.

An outstanding second-degree murder charge against Shawn Lamb was stayed Thursday.

"Based on the evidence to date and after a careful reassessment of all of the evidence, the Crown has determined there is no reasonable likelihood of conviction at this time," Crown prosecutor Sheila Leinburd told the court.

"Should new evidence be discovered, the case can be reviewed for possible future prosecution."

The case involves the death of Tanya Nepinak, a 31-year-old woman last seen in downtown Winnipeg in September 2011. Her body has never been found, but police have said they believe she is dead.

Lamb, 54, was also charged with second-degree murder in the 2012 deaths of Carolyn Sinclair and Lorna Blacksmith.

He pleaded guilty last week to manslaughter in their deaths and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

Court heard that Lamb killed both women, at different times, after they had smoked crack cocaine in his apartment. He told police that he hit 25-year-old Sinclair over the head with an axe handle, then strangled her. He also strangled Blacksmith, 18, using a TV cord, then tried to revive her.

He wrapped both bodies in plastic and dumped them in back alleys.

Lamb, described as a drifter from Sarnia, Ont., was charged with killing all three women in June 2012. At the time, police said Lamb knew Nepinak and met the other two women on the street. All three women were aboriginal.

Police also said they believed Nepinak's body had been put in a garbage bin, which was later emptied by a truck and taken to a landfill south of the city. Police combed through the giant garbage pile for a week before calling off the search.

After Lamb's sentencing, Winnipeg police told reporters that when they brought the man in for questioning about a sex assault in 2012, he told them he knew where a body was. He refused to talk further and asked for money.

Police said they decided to take the "extraordinary measure" and put $1,500 into his canteen account while behind bars so he would keep talking.

Court also heard that the plea deal down to manslaughter was necessary because Lamb's confession would likely not have been admissible at trial. And without the confession, he would have been set free.

Days later, people held various protests in the city, angry over the plea-bargain and the payoff by police. Many people there included Nepinak's family.

"They didn't pay for my daughter; why didn't they do that?'' Nepinak's mother, Joyce Nepinak, told the Winnipeg Free Press.

"There's no closure for our family,'' said Sue Caribou, Nepinak's aunt.