A Winnipeg teen has been sentenced as an adult to life in prison for shooting an unarmed man to death in the street, believing he was a rival gang member.
James Sinclair, 16, learned his fate Monday morning after previously pleading guilty to second-degree murder for the September 2011 shooting death of David Michael Vincett, 20, on Boyd Avenue in the North End.
Sinclair consented to receiving an adult sentence without parole eligibility for seven years after the Crown agreed to drop the first-degree murder charge he faced.
He can be identified now that Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brenda Keyser has imposed sentence.
At the time of the shooting, Sinclair was free in the community away from youth jail on a "reintegration leave" and was considered a high risk to reoffend, Keyser was told Monday.
After leaving jail he managed to purchase a .357 Magnum and 28 bullets.
Sinclair went to a friend’s house in the 500-block of Boyd Avenue in the early hours of Sept. 25, 2011, where he showed them the gun and made his vow to kill an MOB gang member.
Just weeks earlier, Sinclair's friend and Indian Posse gang associate, Clark Stevenson, was killed by MOB members and Sinclair was looking for revenge, court heard.
Just at that time, Vincett was walking down Boyd wearing MOB colours – a black bandana and neck scarf. The boy ran after Vincett and confronted him, calling out to him: "IP."
Carson said Sinclair told police that Vincett replied: "MOB … P-K," which in street lingo means, ‘Posse Killer,’ that he was a member of the MOB and he had killed an IP gang member.
In reality, Vincett was not in a gang, but wore gang colours in an effort to protect himself from other gangs, his mother has said.
Sinclair told police he pulled out his handgun and Vincett started running.
Carson said the boy dropped to one knee, held the handgun with both hands and fired a single shot at Vincett, hitting him in the back of the head.
Vincett was thrown to the ground and died instantly. A passerby found him and contacted 911. Sinclair was arrested two days later after a relative told a teacher what he had done.
"'I did it pretty much because of what happened to my friend, and because he said, MOB P-K,'" Prosecutor Lisa Carson said Sinclair told investigators.
Sinclair won't be able to apply for parole until Sept. 28, 2018. He will remain in youth jail until he turns 18.