Homeless murder suspect says victim assaulted him
By Dwayne Bremer
Feb 7, 2014, 20:25
Waveland Police Officer Jeff Hair on Thursday escorts murder suspect Edward Winnicki from court back to jail. Winnicki is accused of killing David Bourgeois a few days before Christmas last year. Winnicki's case was sent to the grand jury after Thursday's hearing.
Local homeless man David Bourgeois was stabbed more than a dozen times at a shack on Highway 90 in December, but he did not die until a five-inch tube of foot cream was shoved down his throat, authorities said Thursday.
New details about Bourgeois' murder emerged Thursday when his accused killer, Edward Winnicki, appeared in Waveland Municipal Court for a preliminary hearing.
After the hearing, Municipal Judge Preston Mauffray found that there was enough probable cause to send the case to the grand jury.
WPD Patrolman Ben Bowden testified that shortly after he arrived for work on Christmas evening, he responded to a call of a possible dead body at a shack across from Hancock Bank on Highway 90.
Bowden said he and another officer went to the scene and noticed two structures on the property.
The first structure was a pink shack and there was another larger building a few yards away, he said.
Bowden entered the pink shack and saw what appeared to be a body under a grey blanket, he said.
"I removed the blanket and the person was obviously deceased," Bowden said.
Bowden said he then exited the building and called for backup.
He said he also spoke with two members of the Old Spanish Trail Baptist Church who said they had gone to the shack to check on Bourgeois and offer him shelter from the cold.
Bowden said a short time later, investigators Matt Sekinger, Eddie Peterson, and David Buckley arrived on the scene.
When investigators searched the second building, Bowden said, they discovered Winnicki hiding in the attic.
Winnicki initially refused to come down from the attic and when he did, he was "obviously intoxicated," Bowden said.
Officers arrested Winnicki for disorderly conduct and transported him to the Waveland Police Department, Bowden said.
Sekinger testified that he had returned to the police department to secure a search warrant for the property because the Mississippi Bureau of Investigation required one to process the scene.
When Bowden arrived to book Winnicki for disorderly conduct, Sekinger said he decided not to question him about the death because Winnicki was intoxicated.
Winnicki was then transported to the Hancock County Jail, Sekinger said.
MBI later processed the scene and it was later identified as Bourgeois, Sekinger said.
An autopsy performed the next day showed that Bourgeois had been stabbed more than a dozen times and a tube of Dr. Sheffield's foot cream had been stuffed down his throat, causing him to asphyxiate, according to testimony.
Winnicki's attorney Zach Butterworth asked Sekinger if the knife used to stab Bourgeois had been found and if any other evidence was found that tied his client to Bourgeois' murder.
Sekinger said no knife was discovered and it was hard to find any direct evidence because of the condition of the two buildings.
"There was trash everywhere," Sekinger said.
Sekinger said, however, that foreign blood was discovered on Winnicki's pants and that evidence has been sent to the crime lab for analysis.
Sekinger said the day after Bourgeois' body was found, he received a statement from Winnicki at the jail and Winnicki admitted to stabbing Bourgeois.
Sekinger said Winnicki and Bourgeois knew each other well and were often seen together.
"Initially, he denied even knowing Bourgeois," Sekinger said. "Later, he admitted that they were drinking buddies and hung out. Mr. Winnicki stated that Bourgeois would get drunk and try to beat him up. He said that a few days before the body was found, Bourgeois got drunk and tried to assault him. He said he whopped him in the head with a stick and began stabbing him. He said he did not recall placing an object in his mouth and that he did not stick around to see if he was alive or dead."
Butterworth asked if any other suspects were being considered in the murder.
"We always keep our options open for anything, but at this time we do not have any other suspects," Sekinger said.
Mauffray decided that there was enough probable cause to allow the case to be presented to the grand jury. Officers then returned Winnicki returned to the Hancock County Jail.
Butterworth, who is the city's public defender, said Friday that since he only defended Winnicki at the initial hearing, he did not feel it was appropriate to make any statements regarding the case.
If Winnicki is indicted in Hancock County Circuit Court, he will most likely be appointed a new public defender.