A man who murdered an Edmonton senior in his home in 2017 had recently been released from jail and wandered the streets of Edmonton unsupported for several days before committing the crime.
Walter James Jenkins pleaded guilty Wednesday to second-degree murder in the death of 67-year-old Frederick John Dunn, whose crumpled body was found at the bottom of his basement stairs on May 20, 2017, several days after Jenkins attacked him and broke into his home.
In an interview after his arrest, Jenkins told homicide investigators he had been released from the Edmonton Remand Centre on May 4, 2017, and that he had been kicked off a Greyhound bus arranged to take him from the jail to Red Deer, leaving him on the street.
He told investigators he couldn’t explain “the evil … the mental illness, that f—— demon that takes over and ends up murdering this guy.”
“He doesn’t know why ‘the system’ would release him to the public,” an agreed statement of facts read into the court record states. “Because they let him out, they set him up for failure and they are the ones responsible for what happened.”
Dunn lived alone in the Westmount neighbourhood and spent his days watching sports, reading the Edmonton Journal and visiting with friends at the Westmount Mall food court. Court heard he had recently been laid off from his longtime job at Westward Tools/Acklands-Grainger.
He was unmarried and did not have kids, but was close with his siblings. His sister attended court Wednesday.
Jenkins was released from the remand centre in northwest Edmonton after nearly one year in jail on charges including breaking and entering, theft of a motor vehicle, mischief, possession of stolen property and obstructing a peace officer.
Jenkins later told homicide investigators he did not want to be let out because “he knew his cycle of crime would start up again as it always does.” In the days following his release, he slept at shelters and under a tree near Dunn’s house.
Two days after his release, police spoke to Jenkins after he was seen dancing around a puddle near 99 Avenue and 177 Street wearing only his underwear. He told officers, who later took him to the Herb Jamieson shelter, that he was doing “a native prayer” in hopes the Oilers would win their playoff series against the Ducks.
On May 9, Jenkins broke into an unoccupied home in the city’s Blue Quill neighbourhood, stealing about $3,900 worth of items including food, a pair of pants, electronics and running shoes. He left shoes and a pair of jeans lying in the middle of the master bedroom, and used the homeowner’s electric toothbrush.
On May 11, Jenkins broke into a pavilion and a shed in Victoria Park that the city rents to the speed skating association. He left splotches of wet blood and several shattered panes of glass, but did not steal anything.
A day or so later, Jenkins was in Dunn’s neighbourhood scoping out a home to break into in hopes of finding food. When Dunn appeared at the back door, Jenkins asked him for a glass of water.
Dunn hesitated. Jenkins then began to attack him with a brick, beating him over the head. He then repeatedly stabbed the older man in the neck with a nail stuck through a stick.
Jenkins thought Dunn was dead when he heard him say “OK, I’ll give you some water.” At that point, Jenkins choked him from behind using Dunn’s own belt, then dragged him inside the house and kicked him down the basement stairs.
“It seemed like no matter what he did, ‘this guy does not die,’” the agreed facts state.
Afterward, Jenkins cooked some sausages on the stove, took a bath, stole Dunn’s 2001 Buick Century, then drove to Rimbey, where his family lives. There, he stole some other vehicles and committed additional break and enters before being arrested.
“Mr. Dunn was killed for a ‘piece of s— car,’ a ‘s—-y bath’ and some ‘s—y food,’” Jenkins told investigators.
Dunn’s brother discovered his body on May 20 after he failed to show up for a Mother’s Day event with his sister a few days earlier.
Inside the home, investigators found the May 12 edition of the Edmonton Journal. The May 13-19 editions were outside on the front porch. Investigators also found a letter from Rimbey RCMP informing Dunn they had found his stolen car on May 13.
Jenkins was arrested May 24 while hiding in a bale of straw after a rural landowner near Rimbey saw a suspicious man on his property.
Jenkins’ next court appearance is set for April 26 to schedule a sentencing hearing.
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