Jason Moar, 21, pleaded guilty today to manslaughter for the Jan. 1, 2013 slaying of Peter Bird in Black River First Nation.
The deadly New Year’s Day stabbing was triggered by a toxic mix of alcohol and drugs at a party on the reserve, located about 150 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
The Crown dropped a more serious charge of second-degree murder, saying Moar was extremely intoxicated at the time.
Bird, 25, suffered a single fatal wound to the heart after he was attacked just outside his home. Bird was also drunk and high on drugs, and may have actually initiated the incident by confronting Moar, who lived across the street.
At issue was a party he was hosting and what Bird thought was the abusive treatment by Moar of his girlfriend, court was told. Bird actually armed himself with a rusty steel rod, but was eventually overpowered by the knife-wielding Moar.
Provincial court Judge Rob Finlayson said the facts presented in court today follow a similar, sad pattern of so many homicides he’s dealt with in Manitoba.
"It’s far too common a circumstance," said Finlayson.
The Crown was seeking a five- to seven-year sentence for Moar, who has no prior criminal record. Moar’s lawyer asked for between three and four years.
Finlayson ultimately sentenced Moar to four-and-a-half years, less credit for 23 months of time already served. (Finlayson gave enhanced one-and-a-half to one credit for the more than 15 months he’s been in custody since the killing).
That leaves Moar with another 31 months left on his sentence.
"You need to deal with your addiction to alcohol if you hope to lead a meaningful life in the future," Finlayson told Moar.
A co-accused was also charged in the slaying, and his set to be sentenced later this year on a reduced charge of assault, court was told.