Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

'Have mercy on me': dying con

Attacker begs judge for right to die at home

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He showed no mercy to the woman he confined and raped, sentencing her to a lifetime of anguish.

But that didn't stop a dying Winnipeg man from standing up in court Thursday to make an emotional plea to the judge who holds his fate in her hands.

Amuri Musaka, 40, wants to immediately be released from prison so he can spend his final days at home with his family.

"I'm asking you to have mercy on me. I'm scared to die in a place where I'm not with my kids or wife," Musaka told Queen's Bench Justice Lori Spivak.

Musaka was found guilty earlier this year of a July 2012 sexual assault that left his 32-year-old victim suffering from physical and emotional pain that continues to this day.

Since the attack, Musaka has been diagnosed with cancer of the liver that has spread to his lungs. He may have only six months to live, court heard Thursday. Several medical reports that confirm his terminal illness were filed with the court.

The Crown is seeking a three-year prison sentence for Musaka, saying that is the starting point for major sexual assaults in Canada.

Musaka has spent the past 21 months in pretrial custody, which would be deducted from his penalty. That would leave him with about 15 months left based on the Crown's request.

But defence lawyer Mike Cook is asking for a rare judicial exemption of giving his client time spent in custody, allowing him to be released to spend his final days with his wife and five young children.

"This is an exceptional case and you can give a sentence which deviates from the norm," said Cook. "These are extremely unique circumstances."

Cook said Musaka is in the palliative stage and is having a difficult time dealing with his illness while in custody.

"His life, I'm sure, is the most miserable of anyone at Headingley (jail). If you give him any more custody, he may die in jail," said Cook.

"I say let him live out the rest of his life at home with his wife and five children."

Spivak reserved her decision, but said she will deliver it soon given the urgency of the situation.

Musaka came to Canada in 2006 from the Democratic Republic of the Congo and had no criminal record prior to the attack.

Prosecutor Tim Chudy read an emotional victim-impact statement Thursday from the woman Musaka attacked.

She was dating Musaka's friend at the time, and the crime occurred during an evening of socializing.

She continues to undergo counselling for post-traumatic stress disorder and also contracted a sexually transmitted disease from Musaka.

"I was in shock, total disbelief that it happened. I felt contaminated," she wrote in her statement.

Chudy called the crime an "outrageous" offence that requires stiff punishment, even considering Musaka's terminal illness.

www.mikeoncrime.com

Should the courts consider a lighter sentence for a violent crime if the perpetrator develops a fatal illness? Join the conversation in the comments below.

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition April 4, 2014 B1

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