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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Woman charged with murder

Corinne April McKay, 45, shown here, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bradley Dean Harris. Harris’ death is the city’s first homicide of the year.

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Corinne April McKay, 45, shown here, is charged with first-degree murder in the death of Bradley Dean Harris. Harris’ death is the city’s first homicide of the year. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)

The family of a man who died after being stabbed numerous times outside his city apartment describe him as a loving and happy man.

Bradley Dean Harris’ sisters say he was an aboriginal artist and carver who was proud of his culture.

"He was always laughing and joking around," Kathleen Harris said, adding her brother was a generous man who loved his family.

The sisters have identified the woman charged in their brother’s death as his former longtime common-law partner.

"He’s the victim of domestic violence, that’s what it is," a second sister, Ann Marie Green, said on Tuesday, as the sisters shared memories of Harris.

"There’s not enough help out there for men who are in a domestic violence situation."

Harris, 51, was living alone at Westman Youth for Christ’s U-Turn project home on the 100-block of Fifth Street.

He was not part of the U-Turn program. Westman Youth for Christ executive director Dwayne Dyck said he was a tenant who rented a suite in the complex through another agency that helps people transition from homelessness to independence.

Police were called to the apartment complex around 2:30 p.m. on Monday, where they found Harris with unspecified wounds to his upper torso. He was taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Witnesses described hearing Harris scream for help and found him cornered outside his ground-floor apartment door by a woman armed with a knife.

They said the woman stabbed Harris numerous times.

The apartment’s tenants and visitors who saw the attack tried to help Harris, but couldn’t reach him due to the armed woman who motioned toward them threateningly.

Tennants dialed 911 while a visitor, Robert Taylor-John, first yelled at the woman to stop and then spoke to the victim to keep him alert. Harris fell silent, however, prior to the arrival of police and paramedics within minutes.

Dyck praised the tenants and visitors for doing what they could to help Harris in the face of an armed suspect.

"I think they’re heroes. I think they should be praised for it," Dyck said. "They did everything they could — more than many people would do, so I think they deserve praise."

The woman was arrested at the scene.

Corinne April McKay, 45, is charged with first-degree murder and made a brief in-custody appearance in Brandon provincial court on Tuesday morning.

She will remain in custody as she awaits another court appearance on Thursday.

McKay is Harris’ former common-law partner of 22 years, says his family.

Harris and his siblings were born and raised in Brandon where he attended Neelin High School before they moved to Winnipeg, where Harris lived for five years.

He moved to Calgary, where he lived for more than 20 years and worked in the roofing industry. Harris’ family says McKay is an aboriginal woman originally from Sioux Valley Dakota Nation whom Harris met in Calgary.

Harris fell ill with diabetes about 10 years ago while in Calgary. Unable to continue roofing work, he lived on social assistance.

A few years ago, Harris and McKay moved back to Brandon, where his diabetes worsened and his leg was amputated above the knee.

Harris turned to his true love, which was art and carving. Some of his work could be seen in his apartment — small teepee lamps painted with a bison, for example, or the logo of hockey teams, including Harris’ favourite, the Winnipeg Jets.

Harris would sell his work to supplement his income.

The relationship between Harris and McKay deteriorated after he lost his leg, his sisters said. Last year, he and McKay went through a breakup that was amicable at first.

Harris left the couple’s home and erected a teepee at Grand Valley, where he lived during the summer and worked at his carving.

"He loved it out there, he was just waiting for spring so he could go back out there again," Green said.

About six months ago, as it got cold, he moved into the apartment and life was looking good for him. He had a vehicle and was selling his art.

However, his sisters say his relationship with McKay had soured and he’d mentioned getting a restraining order against her.

He’d made the comment after his apartment had been trashed shortly before his death. Harris believed McKay was responsible, as she had the code to his apartment door.

However, when Kathleen last spoke to her brother by phone on Saturday, he was his happy self.

While he and McKay had no children of their own, they had cared for McKay’s three grandchildren. Harris cared for those children, his sisters said.

Attempts by the Brandon Sun on Tuesday to phone relatives of McKay for comment were unsuccessful.

» ihitchen@brandonsun.com

» Twitter: @IanHitchen

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition March 18, 2015

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The family of a man who died after being stabbed numerous times outside his city apartment describe him as a loving and happy man.

Bradley Dean Harris’ sisters say he was an aboriginal artist and carver who was proud of his culture.

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The family of a man who died after being stabbed numerous times outside his city apartment describe him as a loving and happy man.

Bradley Dean Harris’ sisters say he was an aboriginal artist and carver who was proud of his culture.

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