First-degree murder charge laid in stabbing death of Alta. student; victim identified

EDMONTON — A man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a girl who was stabbed at her Edmonton-area high school on Monday.

According to RCMP, 19-year-old Dylan Thomas Pountney faces one count of first-degree murder in the death of the 17-year-old, who has been identified as Jennifer Winkler by her father JD Winkler.

Speaking briefly to CTV News Edmonton he called his daughter “a beautiful soul.” 

Jennifer Winkler

(Credit: JD Winkler)

According to officials, Winkler and Pountney knew each other and he also is a student of the Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic school.

Students who visited a memorial for Winkler at the school on Tuesday said they didn’t know much about Pountney, but that Winkler had seemed happy and kind. 

“She had her own group of friends and you’d always see her laughing and smiling and stuff with them,” said Grade 11 student Morgan Noel. “It’s really just a shame.” 

Police arrested Pountney on Monday near Christ the King School in Leduc, south of Edmonton, hours after Winkler was stabbed there. She was flown to the University of Alberta Hospital in Edmonton, but succumbed to her injuries.

As her alleged attacker had fled school grounds, RCMP responded with ground, air and canine units, blocking off road access to the property. Around noon, the 19-year-old was found in a backyard of a nearby home.

Winkler’s death was ruled a homicide a short while later.

Pountney is in police custody and scheduled to appear in court on Tuesday. Court records show he was charged in January 2020 with mischief and assault with a weapon, which were withdrawn several months later. 

MEMORIAL GROWS AT SCHOOL

Although classes were cancelled Tuesday, people continued to come and go from Christ the King School to leave flowers for Winkler.

 

Noel and two friends said they came to the school to see how their classmates and teachers were doing. Matthew Oliver told CTV News Edmonton it can be easy to become desensitized to violence because of its prevalence in media. 

“But you see your school on the news, you see your friends, you see your teachers crying and you don’t know how to act. You’re torn,” Oliver commented. “Like, you feel something in your chest but you just don’t know how to express it.

Christ the King memorial

The group was at Christ the King School Monday morning when it entered the lockdown shortly before 9:30 a.m. 

“Most people assumed it was fake,” another student, Dylan, told media. “And then we saw the teachers’ reactions. It was like, oh, this is real. What is happening?” 

The lockdown lasted until after officers made the arrest, around noon. 

According to a Saint Thomas Aquinas Roman Catholic Schools spokesperson, the school shares one school resource officer with all other Catholic and public schools in Leduc. The officer was not on campus at the time of the attack. 

Christ the King was open on Tuesday for those wishing to meet with the school division’s trauma support team, which will remain on campus for the rest of the week.

Anyone needing support can contact the Mental Health Helpline 24/7 at 1-877-303-2642. Students can also reach out to the Kids Help Phone any time by texting CONNECT to 686868. 

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