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 18, 2010

Sentencing hearing ends for teen who killed mother and sister

The aunt of a Manitoba teen who shot and killed two members of his family says she's disappointed at the lack answers she has about why he committed the murders.
The teen, who was 14 when he fatally shot his 43-year-old adoptive mother and five-year-old sister in a St. Lazare home three years ago, faced the final day of a multi-day sentencing hearing in a Brandon courtroom on Thursday.
'What was expressed in the courtroom for the past three or four days just adds to the confusion.'—Aunt of teen killer
The now 16-year-old pleaded guilty to two counts of second-degree murder earlier this year. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence for him, which would mean he would spend 10 years behind bars.

The teen's aunt read an emotional victim impact statement in court, and talked about the unending grief her family members have faced as they try to come to terms with the murders. She stared directly at the youth as she spoke.
The teen claimed in prior hearings that he snapped and shot his mother because of long-term abuse he suffered at her hands.
The Crown disputed the abuse allegation, noting that after he was arrested the teen was photographed by police and had no marks or bruises on his body. The teen's family also denied any abuse took place.
During his testimony the teen could not explain why he shot his sister four times in the head. When asked by the Crown attorney, he broke down into uncontrollable sobs.
His aunt said the lack of an explanation from the teen creates more mystery and confusion for her family.
"What was expressed in the courtroom for the past three or four days just adds to the confusion," she said.
"We don't know what happened that day … my family, my brothers, nieces and nephews — my own children — will never know the truth."
The judge reserved his decision on sentencing, saying he would need about three weeks to consider whether an adult sentence is appropriate.

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