Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Crown seeks adult sentence for youth in stabbing death

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The Crown is seeking an adult sentence for a young offender who participated in a random robbery spree that ended with the stabbing death of a stranger.

The accused, who was 17 at the time of the July 2009 attack, was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder following a month-long trial. Now 20, he returned to court Thursday for sentencing.

Under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, the killer would face a maximum of four years behind bars. As an adult, he would get a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least seven years.

Joseph Hall, 24, died in his mother's arms on the same night police flooded his neighbourhood responding to a surge in violent crime.

"I find it hard to get up in the morning and face another day. I miss my son with all my heart," the woman said in a victim impact statement read aloud in court.

Two others previously admitted to their roles in the killing. James McMahon, 22, and Randall Preston Bourassa, 22, both pleaded guilty to manslaughter as part of a plea bargain struck with justice officials. Both were given the equivalent of 10-year prison sentences.

Hall's killers were apparently out of beer when they decided to find innocent victims to rob while strolling through the North End, court was told. Queen's Bench Justice Jeff Oliphant called the group "urban pirates on bicycles" who didn't care who they hurt or killed.

Their first target was robbed and stabbed but escaped with only minor injuries. The next victim, Hall, suffered three stab wounds to the chest, one of which punctured his heart.

www.mikeoncrime.com

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