Justice officials are seeking a 14-year-prison sentence against a Winnipeg gang associate who randomly carjacked, kidnapped and raped a teenage girl while leading police on a three-hour chase through central Manitoba.
Clay Byron Starr, 22, pleaded guilty to five charges stemming from the June 2011 incident. He appeared in court Tuesday for the start of a sentencing hearing which included testimony from several officers involved in the pursuit.
"This is the type of offence that strikes at the heart of a community and strikes fear in citizens that they, too, could be victims of this type of random act of violence," said Crown attorney Nicole Roch.
Starr, who has a lengthy violent criminal history and is tied to the Manitoba Warriors, claims he has little memory of the attack because he had downed a bottle of vodka and some prescription pills in the preceding hours.
But he admits jumping into a Chevrolet Lumina the 16-year-old girl was sitting in while parked in the Brooklands area of the city. Another teen friend managed to escape before Starr sped away.
The girl managed to call 911 repeatedly from a cell phone while in the back seat, shouting "I don’t want to die." A recording of her dramatic call was played in court Tuesday.
Starr headed west of the city – driving at times as fast as 180 km-h – eventually stopping on Highway 26 where he told the girl to get out of the car. After the girl flagged down a 21-year-old man in a Pontiac Sunfire, Starr returned to the scene and ordered both into the Sunfire, telling them he had a gun.
Starr then then took off in the Sunfire with the girl inside, dragging the 21-year-old man several metres behind the vehicle before he managed to free himself.
After the Sunfire broke down further along Highway 26, Starr raped the girl. He made comments about raping her again and said he was going to kill her by drowning her, court was told.
The girl managed to flee the Sunfire and hide in some dense bush as Starr was trying to steal another truck. She then ran to a neighbouring home for help and called police.
Starr continued to head west, stopping at a Portage gas station where he stole a quad from a locked compound. By that time the Winnipeg police helicopter and numerous uniformed members were hot on his trail, thanks to tracking of the kidnapping victim’s cellular phone calls.
Eventually, police in the air and on the ground found Starr hiding near the Portage Diversion. An officer with the canine unit, who testified in court Tuesday, described the dramatic encounter in a swamp which ended with his dog biting Starr in the face and arm.
The Crown read out a victim-impact statement from the teen Tuesday which describes the physical and emotional trauma she has suffered. The sentencing hearing is expected to continue Friday with submissions from Starr’s lawyers.