July 15th, 2018

Man died in ‘cowardly’ attack

By Collin Gallant on October 14, 2017.

Medicine Hat Police Service Insp. Brent Secondiak says Wednesday's homicide was a "cowardly" attack, speaking on the death of local resident James Satre. The body of the 64-year-old man was discovered outside his Mill Street home on Oct. 11.--NEWS PHOTO EMMA BENNETT


Police say a “cowardly” attack on a man outside his Mill Street home is the city’s first homicide of 2017.

Major Crimes Unit investigators responded to an EMS call Wednesday morning to a laneway in the South Flats, where the dead body of James Satre was discovered by a neighbour walking his dog.

A preliminary autopsy shows the wounds as suspicious, police announced at a Friday morning press conference, but they are not releasing a possible cause of death, or naming a weapon.

“It’s part of the ongoing investigation,” MHPSInsp. Brent Secondiak said.

“All homicides are violent in nature. This one, I wouldn’t say it was a prolonged incident. I would describe it as ‘cowardly’… that’s due to the circumstances, the age of the deceased, where it happened.

“I don’t think this was a fight. We think it was a cowardly attack.”

Satre, who was 64, operated a small house-painting company in Medicine Hat. Neighbours described him to the News as quiet, helpful and happy.

A nearby resident on Wednesday told the News he discovered the body while walking his dog at about 7 a.m. He said the victim’s wounds were visible and assumed Satre had been stabbed.

A full initial autopsy report is due soon from the Calgary Medicine Examiner’s Office. That is expected to give an approximate time of death.

Police are now conducting secondary interviews with some people in the area. They have asked businesses to turnover security camera footage.

Secondiak said he couldn’t recall the street ever standing out in terms of criminal activity. Neighbours and business owners from the area which borders light industrial shops say the South Flats corner is generally quiet.

Authorities are also searching for a motive and at this point have not determined any suspects.

“We’re working hard to determine what the motive might have been — we don’t know what that motive may have been,” said Secondiak.

“We’re probing into the entire life of the deceased to determine who might have done this but at this point we don’t have any suspects.”

Satre’s residence, at 1077 Mill St., shares a side property line with the lane where his body was discovered. Empty fields continue beyond that toward railroad tracks. The yard features several cars and equipment but police are still examining the property to determine if robbery may have been a motive.

Anyone with information related to the investigation should contact the Medicine Hat Police at 403-529-8420 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.

Police consider the homicide as the first of 2017. Earlier this year a man died in hospital in January after he was found shot on Dec. 31, 2016.

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