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Judge mulls sentence for man who beat victim, causing brain damage

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A God’s Lake Narrows man is facing a six-year prison sentence after he pleaded guilty to beating a 19-year-old man two years ago, leaving him with permanent brain damage.

Provincial court Judge Tim Preston adjourned sentencing for Eugene Captain to August 2, to give himself time to consider the two extreme sentencing recommendations from defence and Crown counsel.

Prosecutor Colleen Ritchot said Captain’s criminal record combined with the seriousness of the injuries to the victim warranted a prison sentence in the five- to six-year range.

Defence counsel Alan Libman said Captain, now 23, should be sentenced to his time in custody since his arrest and placed on probation.

Captain pleaded guilty in March to aggravated assault for a late-night fight at a drinking party near a storm retention pond in the 2900-block of Pembina Highway in Winnipeg.

Captain and the 19-year-old man were both at the party and intoxicated. When the young man left to get more to drink, Captain began kissing the man’s girlfriend. When the man returned and saw what was happening, he kicked Captain in the head.

Captain then punched the man twice in the head, knocking him unconscious.

Ritchot said Captain, who didn’t want to leave the man alone in the field, carried him to a bus stop while the man’s girlfriend was hitting him.

Ritchot said before Captain could get to the bus stop, he dropped the man and he struck his head on the sidewalk.

Captain fled the scene but was arrested later.

Police reports said the man was taken to hospital in critical condition. Ritchot said the man suffers from permanent brain damage, adding it’s not known if the damage was caused by the punches, from being dropped on his head, or a combination of both.

While in custody for this charge, Captain was convicted in February 2012 for another aggravated assault and was given a six-month sentence. He also had a conviction for assault when he was a youth and several convictions for breaches of probation.

Unlike many other individuals who appear in court, Ritchot said Captain seemed to have a good upbringing in God’s Lake Narrows. While his parents were strict, there were no reports of physical abuse, incidents of violence or drug and alcohol abuse in the home.

Despite the stable upbringing, Ritchot said that Captain developed addictions to alcohol and gambling. A pre-sentence report stated he was spending $200 a week on poker games while on welfare, all his friends have criminal records and some belong to gangs, and he is considered a high risk to re-offend.

Libman said Captain has been sober for the past 18 months he’s been in custody and doesn’t deserve a long prison sentence he described as "crushing."

Captain apologized to the victim, who was in court, and told Preston that he enjoyed being sober and wanted to stay that way. Captain said he would like to return to God’s Lake Narrows and coach hockey at the local school.


Updated on Friday, July 19, 2013 at 5:44 PM CDT: Adds age of Captain.

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