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Manitoba man accused of killing family to ask for mental health assessment

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WINNIPEG -

Lawyers for a Manitoba man accused of killing five family members, including his three young children, are expected to appear in front of a judge Monday to request a mental health assessment.

Ryan Manoakeesick has been charged with five counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of his common-law partner, Amanda Clearwater; their three children, Bethany, Jayven and Isabella Manoakeesick; and Clearwater's niece Myah-Lee Gratton.

His case was before a justice of the peace on Friday, and a representative for Manoakeesick said the accused would be requesting an assessment to determine whether he is fit to stand trial.

The representative also said Manoakeesick, who was not in court Friday, would likely appear by video for his next hearing.

Manoakeesick was convicted of mischief in 2019. A sentencing hearing heard he struggled with methamphetamine addiction and had anxiety and depression as well as other mental health issues.

Police discovered the bodies of the family members earlier this month at multiple crime scenes in and around Carman, Man., a town of 3,000 people southwest of Winnipeg.

Mourners gathered this week at a funeral to remember the victims -- the youngest two months old.

An online obituary says Clearwater will be remembered as a woman who loved her children and enjoyed taking them on walks.

Gratton's mother, Juliette Hastings, has described her 17-year-old daughter as a caring person with a big heart. The teen had been staying with the family since last spring.

Manoakeesick has been remanded in custody since his arrest. A prosecutor previously told court the Crown would be opposing any bail applications.

   This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 23, 2024.

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