Justice officials are seeking to raise parole eligibility for a Winnipeg man who pulled the trigger in a deadly gang-related shooting.
Joseph Burnell Head was convicted in October of second-degree murder. Jurors took less than 24-hours to find him responsible for the January 2009 death of 26-year-old Shawn Beauchamp, who was found lying in the snow with a gunshot wound to the back
Head, 23, returned to court Thursday for sentencing. He faces a mandatory life term with no chance of parole for at least 10 years. But Crown attorney Mike Desautels is seeking to have eligibility raised to 15 years.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky argued no increase is necessary, saying the National Parole Board will have the discretion to keep his client locked up as long as they see fit, possibly for the rest of his life. He cited Head’s troubled Aboriginal upbringing as grounds for maintaining the status quo.
Queen’s Bench Justice Gerald Chartier has reserved his decision until early in the new year.
Jurors heard the evidence was clear that Head, who was a member of the Indian Posse, was one of several men that came across a group of members of the Bloods gang near the corner of St. John’s Avenue and Charles Street that night.
The Crown argued that a fight broke out, during which Beauchamp — a Bloods member — was pepper-sprayed. After Beauchamp fell to the ground, Head shot him in the back, the Crown said.
Beauchamp was rushed to hospital, but died of his wounds.