Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

No more jail time for troubled youth who killed father

Stabbed abusive parent to death; pleads guilty

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A traumatized Manitoba teen who repeatedly stabbed his abusive dad to death won't serve another day behind bars.

The youth, 16, learned Monday he wasn't headed back to jail after pleading guilty to manslaughter for killing his father.

"You're doing terrifically well now," provincial court Judge Tim Preston told him. "Something horrible happened -- and you were responsible for it."

The offender and his mother each endured years of physical and emotional abuse at the hands of the 42-year-old victim.

Neither he nor the Manitoba town the family lived in can be published as it would identify him, which is forbidden by law.

On Dec. 30, 2012, the victim pledged to quit drinking by the dawn of the new year. Instead, he drank all day.

Around 8 p.m., he attacked his wife by lashing out and striking her with a cellphone, then squeezing lemon juice into her eyes.

'You're doing terrifically well now. Something horrible happened -- and you were responsible for it'

The offender, then 14, believed his mom was at risk of death or serious harm.

"His worry was that if he didn't overcome his father, they'd both be beaten to death," defence lawyer Tom Rees told Preston.

He came out of his bedroom and scuffled with his father in what was described as a "flurry" of activity.

The offender pulled a folding knife from his pocket and stabbed his dad 13 times.

One of the wounds cut the victim's pulmonary artery and would have been immediately fatal, Crown prosecutor Dan Angus said.

It was the offender who called 911 and begged dispatchers for fast help for his dad.

"I just want to say that I'm sorry -- if he opens his eyes, I'll tell him I'm sorry," Angus said the teen told RCMP on his way to the detachment.

"My little brother will grow up without a father," he implored. "If I could have just stopped to think this through, this never would have happened," he told police.

"Right after the crime he was already feeling sorrowful and remorseful," Preston said.

The killer spent nine months in custody before being released to live at a specialized Child and Family Services placement.

A plan that would have allowed him some temporary freedom to attend his father's funeral didn't work out, court heard.

Since the killing, he's undergone several psychiatric evaluations and has been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder.

The disorder is as a result of the abuse he's suffered over the years combined with the act of slaying his father, doctors found.

Throughout the hearing, he hung his head low while seated in the prisoner's box. He declined to speak when Preston offered him a chance to do so.

His mother and other relatives attended Monday's hearing but no victim impact statement was filed.

The Crown sought no further jail time for the offender, saying it was unlikely to do much to help rehabilitate him.

"This was a highly situational crime," said Angus, acknowledging the domestic-violence backdrop to the case.

The killer -- referred to as "stoic" by one doctor -- is deemed a low risk to reoffend, corrections officials say.

He's also been in treatment and proved to be no problem in custody or out on bail.

Preston rejected the Crown's request for a year-long conditional supervision order allowing for his immediate rearrest if he fails to live up to several terms, including continuing with his psychotherapy.

Preston instead endorsed a 30-day CS order to be followed by 23 months of supervised probation.

james.turner@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition July 22, 2014 B4

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