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Judge wants more information before handing down sentence

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A manslaughter sentencing came to a sudden halt today when serious questions were raised about the exact circumstances of the killing.

Jordan Smith appeared in court, expecting to learn his fate for the November 2009 attack that left 19-year-old Nolan Norman dead. Smith, 23, pleaded guilty last October and has been waiting behind bars on a decision since sentencing submissions were made last January.

But provincial court Judge Sid Lerner told lawyers today he was not prepared to give a sentence until he knows exactly what Smith is admitting to. Specifically, Smith claims he accidentally stabbed the victim in the heart during a scuffle on a Transcona street. But the Crown believes it was much more malicious, especially given the history of bad blood between the pair.

The case has been adjourned until Sept. 4 for lawyers to decide if they will take the highly unusual step of calling evidence at a sentencing hearing.

Smith has been in custody for nearly three years since his arrest and is seeking to be released with a penalty of time served, especially since he qualifies for double-time credit because he was jailed prior to federal changes outlawing the 2-for-1 practice.

The Crown is seeking a nine-year total sentence, less time in custody.

Norman suffered the fatal injury after a brawl on Victoria Street. He had crashed a house party and attacked one of the guests, who had sold him a dose of cocaine earlier that night which he wasn’t happy with, court was told.

The drug dealer suffered serious injuries and returned inside the party to tell his friends – including Smith – what happened. That’s when a large group of people armed with various weapons rushed outside and jumped Norman.

The fight ended when Smith pulled out a knife he’d grabbed and plunged it into Norman’s chest. He also stabbed him in the buttocks as Norman fled the scene, eventually collapsing nearby. He was rushed to the Health Sciences Centre but pronounced dead.

The Crown claims the fact Smith stabbed Norman a second time shows the initial knife wound was no accident, along with the fact the chest wound went nearly 12-cm deep.

Smith was originally charged with second-degree murder, which carries a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years upon conviction. The Crown agreed to a reduced plea to manslaughter because Smith was severely intoxicated at the time.

Smith has a history with the courts and was out on bail at the time of the deadly attack for a previous assault on his then 14-year-old girlfriend, plus breaching several court orders including a nightly curfew and order to abstain from alcohol.

www.mikeoncrime.com

 

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