Winnipeg Free Press - ONLINE EDITION

Sentencing hearing delayed for boy who killed pizza worker with axe

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Manitoba justice officials will have to wait a bit longer before seeking an adult sentence for a 16-year-old boy who admits to killing a pizza restaurant employee with an axe during an armed robbery.

The teen -- who can't be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act -- pleaded guilty last year to second-degree murder. He returned to court today for what was supposed to be his sentencing hearing, but the case was delayed because defence lawyers only received a crucial court-ordered report just hours earlier. They have requested further time to review the materials.

Lawyers will return to court next week.

As a youth, he would face a maximum penalty of four years behind bars. If raised to adult court, he would receive a mandatory life sentence with no chance of parole for at least seven years.

The brutality of the deadly May 2011 attack inside a Pizza Hotline restaurant left even veteran police and justice officials shaking their heads in disgust. Sources told the Free Press the 54-year-old victim, Gerald Crayford, put up no resistance during the incident at 1100 Concordia Avenue.

"This was seriously... beyond words in terms of the seriousness of the incident," Winnipeg Police Service Const. Natalie Aitken said at the time. She described what happened to Crayford as "more than concerning."

Police also arrested an adult co-accused who remains before the courts and is presumed innocent. Byron Bushie, 19, is also charged with second-degree murder.



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