Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Judge delays decision on sentencing of teenage killer

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Court ended today with no decision on the fate of the 17-year-old boy convicted of killing a Pizza Hotline worker with an axe during a robbery in 2011.

Provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack will resume the sentencing hearing Tuesday morning, when he will determine if the boy will be sentenced as an adult or a youth.

The boy pleaded guilty in October to second-degree murder, after the prosecution had ended its case.

The boy and a 19-year-old co-accused had gone to the Pizza Hotline on Concordia Avenue early on the morning of May 15, 2011. The boy struck Gerald Crayford, 54, with an axe as he tried to stop the robbery. Crayford was taken to hospital in critical condition and died from his injuries the next day.

The boy appeared to be in charge of the robbery, directing his co-accused, stealing the till and taking it back to his house to open it. The two were arrested the following day.

Crown prosecutor Wendy Friesen said the boy should be sentenced as an adult, which means an automatic life sentence with no parole eligibility for five to seven years.

The defence team of Jay Prober and Brad King argued that the boy should be given a youth sentence, which will see him serve four years in custody with three years of supervised community service.

Friesen said everything about the boy supports that he should be given the longer, adult sentence, which would place him on life-long parole and he could be returned to prison if he ever gets in trouble with the law again.

Friesen said a pre-sentence report showed the boy had an inflated sense of self-esteem and was prone to temper tantrums. He had been repeatedly suspended from school, had joined the West Side Crips street gang two years ago and when at the Agassiz Youth Centre had fought with other boys there and had threatened to kill a staff member.

His criminal record includes robbery with a weapon and possessing a weapon and uttering threats.

A pre-sentence report found that the boy had showed very little remorse over his role in Crayford’s murder and that he is very likely to re-offend.

King said the boy was brought up in a household filled with violence and drug use. He said recent reports showed that the boy was responding to the programs meant to curtail his anger, and his rehabilitation back into society will be best served with the shorter youth sentence.

The boy has been in custody since his arrest May 16. A 19-year-old co-accused is awaiting trial.


Updated on Monday, April 15, 2013 at 2:05 PM CDT: Corrects current age of boy.

6:21 PM: rewrite with judge's decision delayed

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