Monday, June 21, 2010
Woman killed after cigarette request, court hears -- Teen describes vicious swarming
Audrey Cooper was beaten to death after she refused a cigarette request from one of her attackers, jurors heard this morning.
"I asked her for a cigarette and she didn't answer," testified a now 16-year-old girl. "I said we should fight her ... gang up on her."
Cooper, 34, was beaten to death in October 2006 outside the Spence Street rooming house where she lived.
A now 19-year-old man is on trial charged with second-degree murder.
The girl - who was 12 at the time of the killing - testified she punched Cooper in the face, after which two 14-year-old female co-accused "went after her."
The two other girls dragged Cooper onto the porch of the rooming house where all four youths "stomped, kicked and punched" the unconscious woman, the girl said.
The girl told court the two female co-accused stripped Cooper of her clothes and discarded them in another yard. The male accused held a lighter to Cooper's face, which was "all beaten up," then he "peed on her," she said.
Court has heard Cooper suffered more than 60 distinct injuries, including seven broken ribs, a punctured liver and a severed ear.
She was just 12 years old when she participated in the random killing of a Winnipeg woman. Now 16, she was back in court Monday as a key Crown witness.
The girl - who can’t be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act - told jurors how she and her friends brutally attacked 34-year-old Audrey Cooper after she refused their request for a cigarette.
She broke down in tears and pointed the finger of blame at herself, two other teen girls who have pleaded guilty - and the 19-year-old man who is now on trial for second-degree murder. He was 15 at the time of the October 2006 slaying and claims he was not involved.
Audrey Cooper, 34, suffered 64 separate injuries in the unprovoked attack, including seven broken ribs, a lacerated liver, swelling that shut both of her eyes and bleeding on the brain. She was stripped naked and left to die. The youngest attacker admitted Monday she suggested they "gang up" on Cooper but told jurors how everyone took turn delivering kicks, punches and stomps to Cooper. She said the young man on trial held a lighter to Cooper’s face to observe the damage they’d done, then urinated on her unconscious body before they all fled the scene.
The man’s lawyer attacked her credibility during cross-examination, suggesting she invented the claims against his client to get a sweet deal with Manitoba justice officials.
The girl was originally charged with second-degree murder, but the Crown agreed to drop it to manslaughter.
She pleaded guilty and was given the maximum sentence of two years custody and one year of community supervision.
The two other girls, who were 14 at the time, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and were given the maximum youth sentence of four years of custody and three years of community supervision.