Winnipeg man accused of sending letter bombs faces more charges

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By Chinta Puxley

THE CANADIAN PRESS

WINNIPEG: A man already accused of targeting his former wife and two lawyers with potentially lethal letter bombs faces more charges in an explosion more than two years earlier at his ex-wife’s home.

RCMP say Guido Amsel faces two counts of attempted murder as well as several explosives and weapons charges related to the blast.

Amsel is already facing three counts of attempted murder and weapons charges in relation to letter bombs sent last July.

Two of the letter bombs were safely detonated, but one exploded. Lawyer Maria Mitousis, who had represented Amsel’s wife in the couple’s divorce, lost a hand in the blast and suffered severe injuries to her upper body.

Amsel’s lawyer has previously said his client denies all the charges related to the letter bombings.

RCMP Chief Supt. Scott Kolody said officers were called to a home just north of Winnipeg in April 2013 after “an explosive device was detonated” outside.

“Manitoba RCMP investigators have been engaged and conducting an ongoing investigation into this incident since first being notified,” Kolody said Friday.

The explosion damaged the home and a vehicle, but did not wake up Amsel’s ex-wife and another unidentified adult in the house, said Staff Sgt. Jared Hall. No one noticed the damage until later that morning.

“All available efforts were made in an attempt to identify a suspect and determine who the intended target was,” Hall said. “All possible motives were identified and investigated including the potential for Guido Amsel’s involvement.”

But Hall said Amsel was not a suspect at the time and officers found no evidence to suggest he might have been involved. That changed after last summer’s attempted letter bombings, he said.

The RCMP teamed up with Winnipeg police and identified evidence, which led to the additional charges, Hall said. He wouldn’t go into detail about the evidence.

There was nothing police could have done in 2013 to prevent the attempted letter bombings two years later, Hall said.

“We pursued every avenue, every motive, every possibility to find out who _ and it could have been anybody _ was responsible for that back in 2013,” Hall said. “The evidence and information just wasn’t there at that time.”

But the evidence that was collected in 2013 had “obvious significance” after last summer, he said.

“The proper collection of evidence at the scene in 2013 and the safeguarding of exhibits throughout these past 2 1/2 years was critical to this investigation,” Kolody added.

Amsel’s lawyer Martin Glazer was to comment on the newest charges later on Friday.

Amsel has been in custody since his arrest last July. He was denied bail and has requested a review of that decision. His lawyer argued the bail review should be heard by an out-of-province judge but that request was denied.

The bail review is scheduled for April 20.