04 December 2006

Another reason why...

The Canadian justice system needs a complete overhaul.

A 26-year-old convicted killer was murdered early yesterday, apparently killed by a gunshot wound to the head. Dennis Kwame Oppong, 26, was found lying on a Front St. sidewalk, just west of Spadina, at 3 a.m. after emergency services got telephone calls about a shooting.

Oppong was convicted in the '90s in the brutal subway stabbing death of 15-year-old Ishmael Spence. Oppong apparently rushed at Spence without provocation and stabbed him in the chest and head, penetrating his brain.
What the hell was this guy doing on the street?

I guess he completed his anger-management classes.


UPDATE: 11 Jan 2007 - Speaking up for Dennis Oppong

Someone obviously feels very strongly about this man. In the interest of fair play, you can read his version of what transpired in the comments...
Dennis was a resident a Syl Aps Youth Center while I was a counsellor there. Dennis was approached by four gang members at the Kennedy subway station by this "innocent" Ishmael character...

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34 comments:

Anonymous said...

they need to do away with special treatment and special placement of these people. It's prison for gods sake...not a resort or day spa... they should all go into general lock up. Education should be manditory. Recreation should be manditory. Drug testing should be monthly and violator placed in solitar for a week or more per offence to clean them up. Screw the whole arguement about violating their civil rights.... they broke the law and chose to go outside the laws and rules that govern citizens...they have forfet their rights as citizens and can re-apply for citizenship once they get out. We're not talking about people that cheated on taxes or maybe had one too many parking tickets they refused to pay...these are people that chose to end another persons life... Anyone that physically preys on the weak or goes out knowingly to take another persons life should be in jail for the full term of their sentence. Why the hell else do we have prisons???

Anonymous said...

I do agree that in most cases convicts are let out of prison before their time w/out being reformed but this was not the case with Dennis Oppong...Dennis paid his debt to society and was actually a model citizen since he's gotten out of jail. The incident in 1995/6 was very unfortunate and I definitely do not condone what had happened. But Dennis has lived with this guilt of Ishmael's death since and definitely did not intend for his death at the time. It did happen nevertheless but it does not mean that Dennis didn't deserve a second chance. So fortunately he did recieve it and did well with it and what recently happened has NOTHING to do with anything like gangs, drugs etc...! Dennis was not into that stuff. He is the victim in this case and because of something that happened in his past 11 years ago we accept it as he got what he deserves?...God is the only one who determines who deserves what and at that time it is none of our buisiness....

Neo Conservative said...

lemme recap from the news article... "oppong stabbed him in the chest and head, penetrating his brain"

doesn't sound like a a model citizen to me... sounds like the cold-blooded killer of a 15 year old boy, who got some cosmic, not to mention ironic, justice.

you say it has nothing to do with drugs & gangs... if you actually know who murdered your buddy, you should call the cops.

Anonymous said...

Well neo you talk like someone who knows what realy happened 11 years ago, if you did you wouldn't be talking crap right now! Since when can you beleive word for word what you read in the news? They said the Ish got stabbed for no reason.. Maybe you need to sit down with his older brother one day and ask him to tell you the truth about what realy happened @ kennedy station the day before his bother was killed in that very same subway station the next day! People speak as Though Dennis was some stone cold mad man killer that rushed a poor kid on his way home from school.. PLEASE, people such as myself who use to hang out in that subway station know for a fact that Ish was no angel, not suggesting that he deserved what happened to him, however when you run with Gangs and want to talk crap and beef with people bad things happen.

Neo Conservative said...

ok... you've got my attention, but
obviously, no one is gonna sit down with his brother today, tomorrow or anytime soon... so if you've got the scoop here, why don't you just lay it out for me?

but if you're not gonna give it up... we'll just have to go with the newspaper reports.

it's that simple.

Anonymous said...

Dennis was a resident a Syl Aps Youth Center while I was a counsellor there. Dennis was approached by four gang members at the Kennedy subway station by this "innocent" Ishmael charachter. He was accused of stealing a leather jacket, and these four well brought up youth threatened to kill him via pushing him under the subway train. Dennis was 15 and in fear of his life and what he did was in self defence, his intention was not to kill him but to defend his own life. Dennis was very remorseful for Ishmeal's death and we had many conversations concerning this incident. It is interseting to see how quickly those who have no clue what they are talking about are so easy to pass judgement. Dennis served every minute of his time and was a model resident. He was an amazing person and is so greatly missed. Let him rest in peace.

Neo Conservative said...

obviously there is more than one version of what happened in this particular case.

i have, in the interest of fairness, updated the post to inform people of your version here in the comments.

whatever transpired that day, and i suppose only those who were there will ever really know.... i admire your loyalty to your friend.

that said, your friend used a weapon he was carrying, to kill another person.

the jury saw fit to convict him rather accept a verdict of self defense. that's a fact.

we can leave it here.

*

Anonymous said...

Just in case my last post was not put up, like I said I was one of his workers and therefore had access to his files, he plead guilty there was no plea of self-defence. Just remeber the altar boy Ishmael was in a gang, this could have went either way. So once again, since you have no clue who this man was or what transpired so you need to shut up. His psych evaluations showed no concerns for him running out to stab anyone. You should think twice before making comments about what people deserve, this man has a family that you obviously have no concern over.

Neo Conservative said...

from my post above which precedes your latest complaint by 22 hours and 15 minutes...

"i have, in the interest of fairness, updated the post to inform people of your version here in the comments."

***

if you had taken the time to reread the original post, or look at the comments above...which i have reposted here, you would know.

so what's up... you just like to hear yourself talk?

Anonymous said...

Dennis Oppong was my Best Friend and a big brother to me. He made a mistake when he was 15-years old and unfortunately most people will never know or understand what really happened that day in the subway. Does anybody honestly believe that Dennis just decided to stab another teen for no reason so he could go to jail? Dennis and most humans are smart enough to know that stabbing another person (Provoked or Unprovoked) will result in going to jail even if the victim doesn't die. Anybody who simply reads a newspaper article and passes judgement on someone else without knowing what really happened is Ignorant and Heartless!!

Dennis had completely turned his life around since being released from prison and has had a very rough life. His younger brother passed away in April 2005 and he's been working hard to take care of his mother and was trying to make a positive future for himself, even though society never gave him a fair chance or a fresh start. Dennis was a caring, loyal, respectful and intelligent man who was highly respected and loved by everyone who actually knew him. He was extremely remorseful and hurt by his past experience and it's really unfortunate that another teen lost his life. However, Dennis should have been protected by the Young Offender's Act and should not have to be disrespected and embarrassed at a time when he was clearly the VICTIM!! His mother is extremely hurt and disappointed at the way the media and other ignorant people are failing to realize that he is being treated like the Suspect in this situation.

I don't understand how our useless justice system can allow someone who robbed a bank with a sawed-off shotgun to be realeased within 1-year of serving a 50-year sentence. This person was then convicted of robbing someone at gun point shortly after receiving a lifetime ban on posessing firearms. How can we justify a person who was released from such a harsh sentence once and again for a similar crime being given a 3RD chance, which ultimately led to the death of someone who actually showed great improvement and served his full sentence in jail when he was convicted???

*** WHY DID MY BEST FRIEND HAVE TO GET SHOT IN THE HEAD BY SOMEONE WHO OBVIOUSLY NEVER LEARNED THEIR LESSON FROM OUR JUSTICE SYSTEM? ***

Maybe some of the ignorant people on this post should try to figure out who the real bad guy is before putting so much effort into making Dennis seem like a worthless human being who deserved to die. Dennis, like the rest of us also has a family and friends who cared about him very much and we would all greatly appreciate if everyone could stop talking negative about him now that he is gone!! Please let him rest in P-E-A-C-E...

Neo Conservative said...

you are getting your chance to say your piece here, friend.

i have placed an update on the post to point to the comments.

don't know what else i can do.

*

Anonymous said...

Your comments after my post were judgemental,once again he plead to the charges, at the advice of his attorney. You have no clue what you are talking about. Dennis had more class in his baby finger than you would have if there were ten of you.

Neo Conservative said...

true... but you're judging him another way as being blameless.

he murdered another human being and then was murdered himself... that wouldn't be considered too classy in my neck of the woods.

you think maybe he was just unlucky? what do you figure the odds are... of this type of serial misfortune falling on just one innocent man's shoulders?

no sale, my friend... same planet, different worlds.

*

ps... i do hope you went after the writer of the newspaper article with the same vigour you're showing here.

Anonymous said...

The two incidents were clearly unrelated.
The two incidents are totally separate and have nothing to do with the another.
The papers are at present being held accountable for what they have done. You will see that shortly. You are in no positon to pass judgemnet on man you did not know. Once again you feel you have the right to make heartless cruel comments. Please inform us when someone in your family gets hurt or killed so we can judge and slander them with the same thoughtless ignorance you are displaying. I see your mother did a great job bringing you up. You know what they say, goat dont make sheep.

Neo Conservative said...

Anon wrote... "I see your mother did a great job bringing you up."

I guess I'm supposed to be devastated because you're bringing my mother into this. Has it occurred to you that making childish insults might not be the best way to make your case?

Anyway, if you really want to know when "someone in my family gets hurt or killed", you'll have to leave me an email address.

*

ps... The goat thing went totally over my head, what's up with that?

*

Anonymous said...

Great argument, but it sounds very much like neither one of these boys belonged here. Where they from mon? Spanish Town ? Trelawney ? WHen Canada allowed the criminal gangs into our land with our tolerance and our marvellous liberalism, we bared our breasts to the dagger, now we're reaping the whirlwing. THese boys were bad news , both of them and now they be dead. Question is, where's the lest sick gang , crew member killer ? THink that stuff jus happens man ? Huh? These boys be mobbed up, and I betcha' they be Jamaicans !!! GO HOME !! GET OUT OF MY LAND ! No one should go Jamaica and they certainly should not be allowd to come here and wrest control of Toronto from the Good people like they have with their charges of racial profiling and their obnoxious churches and all...

Anonymous said...

You are so well educated , you go figure out what it means. That was not a childish insult, it was a statement. The bottom line is you are not in a position to judge a man you did not know.

Neo Conservative said...

sorry, wrong again... my wife is the one who is well educated.

i think the gulf between us may be cultural, rather than intellectual.

anybody translate the goat thing for me?

*

Anonymous said...

Ask your educated wife. She must have been in grade three when she married you because educated women don't marry ignorant men.

Anonymous said...

Regarding goats. intersting that. They put some Afghans on a plane once, and immediately had to scream it down in an emergency landing. Seems the tribesmen lit a fire in the aisle to cook up some goat they'd brought along with them .

Neo Conservative said...

"Anon said... Ask your educated wife. She must have been in grade three when she married you because educated women don't marry ignorant men."

*

Another childish insult... I've done all I can for you.

If you choose to communicate like an adult, you can try here.

*

Anonymous said...

No you haven't, you are still talking.

Anonymous said...

Ok so what was up with post talking about Jamaicans? get out of your county. immigration is one of the factors that have made this country a great place to live. Not like its any of your business but Dennis wasn't even Jamaican! So who ever you are you have some serious issues to address, and no matter how much you rant and rave for the immigrants to get out that would also include you, unless you're a native Indian! People such as you can only make such hash comments online, never out in the open in face of the same people you're trying to offend, why is that? maybe because you're a punk with no balls. Go down to Eglington Ave West & Oakwood and tell the Jamaicans down there to go back home and see what happens to your racist ass! Are you jealous because anything you can do we can do better? is it that our women have natural beauty that's why a 50 year will look 35. are you so upset because we hold our culture close and you Mr. cracker don't have one anymore because you've forgotten where you come from. Ignorant fool! name you time and place and I'd be more than happy to repeat my comments to your face!

Anonymous said...

and neo.. only God know's about that goat thing, I'm also at a loss with that one!

Sick&Tired said...

Dear anonymous....
I knew ishmael since i was a baby; he was like a part of my family. I find it extremely disrespectful that you consistenly put "innocent" in quotations the way you have done when referring to Ishmael. I knew and loved Ishmael, and so I am offended by your disrespect towards him. My sister had to live through this horror, she watched it all happen and i will never forget the traumatized look on her face that night. What your friend, Dennis did is unforgivable for some, although i have moved on. The point is that just because he wasn't let out of jail early no matter how good he was in jail, it doesn't mean that you can get all angry at Ishmael and those who loved him. Now that Ishmael has been murdered, don't even try and bring his brother into this because at this point, we're all more than smart enough to realize that Dennis could have just walked away! I know where Ishmael laid dying, and trust me, whether Dennis was threatened or not (which by the way he was NOT), Dennis could not have been "thrown on the train tracks". He would have had to of gone down or upstairs near the trains, and even then Dennis could have called for help. And if Ishmael really was a hard-ass the way you make him out to be with his "four gang friends who also treatened Dennis", do you really think that Dennis could have done what he did to Ishmael and simply walk away. Obviously not, his friends would have run after him. What really makes me upset is that Dennis killed my friend who was the only "big brother" i had, when he could have simply walked away from him. That is Unforgivable! Dennis got a second chance at life. But he took that away from Ishmael! Ishmael never had a second chance it was taken away from him. Don't get me wrong though, i'm glad that at least one ex-murder smartened up and tried to turn his life around, but you can't go around disrspecting Ishmael, his brother and his friends they way you have been doing, and you definetly CANNOT expect any of us to forgive and forget what Dennis did to him. Because of your friend, my whole family was greatly affected, and everytime a set foot in Kennedy staion it's a constant reminder that my "big brother" was taken away from me for no good reason!

Neo Conservative said...

*
gentlemen... i think one lesson everybody can take away from these two deaths is that, if you live by the sword... there's a pretty good chance you'll eventually run into a bigger, badder swordsman.

this sort of confrontation and deadly violence is endemic to the black community in toronto... and until the apparently cultural need to assert dominance is curbed, more young black men will needlessly die.

it is a sad self-inflicted injury.

anyone care to speak to that?

and the disturbing race-baiting at the jane creba trial... somebody want to explain what that's about?

*

Lee-Ann said...

I was at the station the day that Ishmael was stabbed. I saw Ishmael being chased. What led up to this, I don't know, nor will I pretend to. Was his life taken? YES. Did Dennis serve his time? YES. Was it enough time? MAYBE NOT. But he DID serve the sentence he was given. Did he show remorse? I don't know. Did Dennis DESERVE to die? That is not up to us, only God can decide a person's fate. I wont pretend that I feel sorry for Dennis, I SAW him take a life, innocent or not. I DO however feel sympathy for his family, as well as Ishmael's as they have both had people they love stolen from them at the hands of another. What I'm trying to say is, no matter what a person has done in their past, MURDER IS MURDER, a VICTIM IS A VICTIM. Let them both rest in peace. Only God has the imperial right to judge.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"lee-ann says... Only God has the imperial right to judge."

hmmm... what if you don't believe in god?

*

Lee-Ann said...

Everyone believes in something. God, The Creator, Buddha, Allah, something or some higher power. If they don't what gives any person the right to judge another? We have all made mistakes in our past. Done things we aren't proud of. Does that mean that we should be judged solely on our past? What about a child that was abused? Do they have to be a victim their whole life? What about a woman that has been raped? Should she forever be seen as a victim? A 2 year old steals a piece of candy at the store, never steals again, should he forever be classified as a thief? Than why is it ok to judge a man for something he did as a youth when he has made an active attempt to become a better person? In my past I did drugs, I ran with a rough crowd and worked as an exotic dancer. Now I am a hard working, single mother of 3 young sons. I don't dance anymore, I have been 8 years clean from drugs. Yet if I was judged on my past by everyone, I would forever be a drug addict, stripper. That just isn't who I am. I made changes in my life to make me a better person. To make myself a model parent for my sons. So how can we fairly judge a man for his past? Judge not lest ye be judged. THAT I am a firm believer in.

Neo Conservative said...

*
"lee-ann says... So how can we fairly judge a man for his past?"

while i applaud your courage and the effort it took to forge your new life... i have to disagree with you about the judging.

apparently... you "judged" your old life was unsatisfactory... and improved it... immeasureably.

i remember when being discriminating... about appearances, conduct and the way people lived their lives... wasn't regarded as a crime against society.

*

Lee-Ann said...

I didn't find it unsatisfactory, i happened to feel that i was being untrue to myself. and as for there being a time when you could discriminate based on many things, there was also a time that women had no place in society. Was it right? NO. It was simply accepted at the time. Laws change as our society does. Unfortunately some people never comprehend that change comes for a reason, usually when the current actions, laws or feelings are no longer accepted as responsible, acceptable or maintainable.

Anonymous said...

I am just glad none of Ishmaels friends or family were responsible.

I knew Ishmael as a kid, went to school with one of his elder brothers and all these years I worried about his friends and family seeking revenge. They are such nice people and I didn't want them to throw anything away for Dennis.

Ishmael was a humble kid that died before his life started. 15 years old. Always had a smile, I remember to this day and seemed positive compared to the average teenager.

I do not like how Dennis has been "candy coated".

He was a "thug" with the nickname "Menace" and chased Ishmael "15" who to my memory was not a fighter or something like that, just a neat "tall" kid. I felt like this guy got a kick out of terrorizing him and doubt Dennis would have taken such action on "other" kids who hang out in that station.

I have a hard time believing this guy got shot for just trying to make an illegal turn. IF he got a second chance at life why in the world was he out clubbing? He could have run into a LOT of enemies.

So this guy was just back to his same old SHIT.

This guy should have stayed focused if he was "reformed". Thats why I think the prison system in Canada is built for "CRIMINALS" and creates the only situation I commend comedian George W. Bush and the DEATH PENALTY.

Anonymous said...

Its been a long time since anyone posted here -- I knew Dennis in HS. Our fist interaction was while playing ball where he pushed and threatened to beat up a kid a good 50 lbs lighter then him. I pointed out that I had 50 on him and wouldn't hesitate to use it if he didn't settle down. He was certainly no angel, not many guys growing up in Scarb were at that point. I understood that there was a mixup at Kennedy - I honestly don't know. In fairness, it doesn't matter. He killed and was killed. Let's face it -- he wasn't bringing food to the hungry at that hour. I feel badly for both families, and badly for their deaths. I feel badly
particularly Ish because - though I am certain he wasn't up for sainthood, he - to the best of my knowledge never killed anyone. Dennis being killed just evened out his ledger. RIP both of them.

Anonymous said...

Went to high school with this Dennis fella..he was indeed a troublemaker...Saw him beating the crap out of some kid at the bus stop one day on my way home from class. Interestingly enough Dennis was one of several people form this school that ended up being murdered and most of the time it was because they were trying to act like gangsters and met the fate most gangsters meet..and that is death. The guy was 6 foot 2 and quite tall even in highschool...he was not afraid of anyone in those days...I remember the Spence killing like it was yesterday and was not the least bit surprised when it happened...he could have walked away that day and stayed in his car at the traffic incident that led to his death but his attitude was always one of a hostile nature and was quick to fight...instead of walking away, Dennis likely engaged the individual...and ultimately lost his life...Sad for all families involved because they have lost a loved one. Choices unfortunately have consequences...and this fella made the wrong one and unfortunately it was his last.....