Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Family, friends of victims speak in court prior to murderer's sentencing

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Many were moved to tears in a courtroom this morning as family and friends of two murdered boys told the court how their deaths have irrevocably altered their lives.

"Some days I wish I died with them," said Kyle St. Germain, who was seriously wounded during the shooting spree in the early hours of Dec. 5, 2009, of his friends Tyler Hawula and Matthew Reynolds. "This has broken some of us."

This morning’s hearing was to determine the sentence for one of the two young men convicted in November of two counts of first-degree murder and attempted murder. This individual, now 19 but who was 16 at the time, had agreed to be sentenced as an adult. He cannot be named until he has been sentenced, which is expected to take place Friday morning.

An adult sentence means the individual will receive two concurrent life sentences with no parole eligibility for 10 years for the first degree murder convictions. Justice Perry Schulman must still decide on the sentence for the attempted murder conviction. Crown prosecutor Lisa Carson asked Schulman to impose a third concurrent life sentence, while defence counsel is asking for four to seven years but no more than 10 years.

Hawula and Reynolds, both 18, were gunned down at a house party at Hawula’s Martin Avenue West home and died from their injuries. St. Germaine was seriously injured. The attack was launched by another youth, the co-accused in the November trial, who had been kicked out of the party earlier in the night after he became argumentative and began brandishing weapons and frightening people four people.

The pair returned to the party, walked into the house and fired three shots.

"I watched you as you shot Kyle (St. Germaine) without a second thought," Crystal Irvine, Hawula’s mother said as she read from her victim impact statement. "You pulled that trigger."

A statement from Reynold’s sister Anita was read by their mother. "It’s like living in world with no air," she said. "Losing him was the worst pain I have ever felt."

The two murdered young men were described as role models and mentors to other neighbourhood children. They didn’t have criminal records and were not affiliated with any gangs.

Court was told that Reynolds had an upbringing similar to the boy who had killed him: Reynolds was born with fetal alcohol syndrome and was badly abused by his biological father before being placed in care and later adopted. He was a good student who was admired by his friends and teachers.

His killer was from Gods Lake Narrows and also suffered from fetal alcohol syndrome. Court was told that he was set on fire at the age of 6 and later taunted for years by other youths because of his scars. The killer was a member of a local native street gang. He did not oppose being sentenced as an adult and asked to serve his sentence in a federal penitentiary.

The co-accused at the trial has not yet been sentenced. Another youth co-accused received a manslaughter sentence in youth court. Another gang member who was with them but remained outside the house, Cody Delorme, pleaded guilty to manslaughter and received a 11-year sentence.

 

aldo.santin@freepress.mb.ca

History

Updated on Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 4:43 PM CDT: fixes age of offender.

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