Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Judge reserves decision on teen convicted in Pizza Hotline killing

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The fate of a 17-year-old boy convicted of killing a Pizza Hotline worker during a May 2011 robbery is now in the hands of a judge.

Provincial court Judge Rocky Pollack reserved his decision to the afternoon of May 31.

The boy will get an automatic life sentence for the killing of Gerald Crayford, the only issue remains if he is sentenced as a youth or an adult.

Pollack spend 30 minutes questioning counsel on their positions: Crown prosecutor Wendy Friesen said the boy should be sentenced as an adult, which ensures he will serve another five to seven years before released on parole; Defence counsel Brad King says the boy should be sentenced as a youth, which is see four more years in custody followed by three years of supervised community sentence.

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 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 and stole the till and took it back to his house to open it. The two were arrested the following day.

Friesen said that everything about the boy to date supports that he should be given the longer, adult sentence, which would place him on life-long parole and 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 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 from July 2010 and possessing a weapon and uttering threats from January 2009.

A recent 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 that the boy was brought up in a household filled with violence and drug use.

King said that recent reports showed that the boy was responding to the programs meant to curtail his anger and that his rehabilitation back into society will be best served with the shorter youth sentence.


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