Welcome to my Crime and Justice blog! I am a 19 year old criminal justice student at the University of Winnipeg. I advocate for prisoners' rights, human rights, equality and criminal justice/prison system reforms.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Man already sentenced for 2nd degree murder, now pleads guilty to assaulting sex-trade worker

A career criminal pleaded guilty to violently attacking a Winnipeg sex-trade worker only days -- or even hours -- before he killed another vulnerable young woman.

Stanton Viner, 52, was sentenced to five years in prison Thursday under a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers. He admitted to choking and trying to rape his victim inside an inner-city drug house after demanding sex from her in exchange for drugs. Another resident of the home stopped the attack after hearing the woman cry for help.

Crown attorney Kusham Sharma told court the victim can't recall specifically what day in July 2007 she was attacked, but it may have been the same day Viner took 35-year-old Aynsley Kinch from the same home and strangled, raped and dumped her in a field on the northwest outskirts of the city.

Viner pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for Kinch's death and was sentenced last week to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 17 years. Thursday's sentence will run concurrent to his life term, meaning it won't add to his sentence but could make it more difficult for him to get parole.

"Mr. Viner is maybe one of the worst offenders to come before this court," Sharma said.
Police arrested Viner just days after Kinch's killing, due largely to DNA analysis that matched a pubic hair found at the crime scene to him. He was a stranger to Kinch until he met her at the drug house he frequented, where Kinch was getting high that day. Police learned about the earlier sexual assault while questioning potential witnesses about Viner.
Sharma said the first victim was "quite lucky" another person in the home interrupted the attack, which may have spared her from further injury or even death.
Viner's lawyer said his client's life has been troubled from an early age and he's been unable to break the cycle of violence and addiction.

The majority of this article is dedicated to discussing the attacks and the victims. Only one sentence talked about the mitigating factors combined with the accused's background life and circumstances. Seems a little disproportionate to me. I would like to have known more details about his life, his troubles and other mitigating circumstances. This article will likely only cause readers to be sympathetic for the victims and their families, which is a good thing, but fails to offer any sympathy for the accused, when he has gone through life troubles and also deserves sympathy of the public. 

I disagree with 5 years for the aggravated assault. Yes, it was violent, but I am guessing that his actions were driven by his addiction to drugs and were impulsive, not planned and pre-meditated. This man is already serving time in prison for second degree murder, and doesn't need a harsher sentence on top of that. Some prison time is warranted because I believe this man does pose a danger to society, but I disagree with the mandatory minimum sentence for second degree murder of life in prison with no parole for 17 years and I disagree with the 5 years for the assault. For second degree murder, I would have sentenced this man to 7 years, and another 1.5 years for the assault. I do not believe longer sentences are effective as they increase the chances of re-offending when offenders are released and decrease the likelihood of successful reintegration of the offender because they become dependent, institutionalized and influenced by the negative prison environment, subculture and other inmates.  


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