A 20-year-old mother of two young children blames depression and alcohol for an armed robbery that will now separate her from her family.
Karly Grace Spence pleaded guilty Thursday to bursting into an Ellice Avenue 7-Eleven, holding a knife to the female clerk's throat and stealing more than $600 in cash and cigarettes. Spence was 18 at the time of the September 2010 robbery and had no prior criminal record.
The Crown wanted a three-year prison term for Spence, saying that's the typical starting point for crimes of this type. But Queen's Bench Justice Jeffrey Oliphant agreed to the defence request for a more lenient 90-day sentence, which Spence will serve intermittently on weekends.
"I hope you realize I've given you a break. I hope never to see you here in court again, because there will be no more breaks for you," Oliphant told the woman, whose parents were in court.
Spence apologized for her actions and admitted she has little memory of the robbery. Her lawyer told court she had been in a deep depression and was looking for an easy way to make quick money.
She has been deemed a medium risk to reoffend, largely because the father of her two children is a convicted criminal currently free on parole. Oliphant expressed concern Thursday about Spence's future prospects, given that relationship.
She is being treated for a blood clot, which Oliphant factored into his sentencing decision, along with her remorse and child-care issues.
Police arrested Spence and a female co-accused near the robbery scene within minutes of it happening just before 9 a.m. on a Saturday, court was told. Spence was severely intoxicated at the time.
The victim suffered no physical injury but was emotionally traumatized, court was told.
Oliphant's decision to give Spence the maximum intermittent sentence also allows him to place her on three years of supervised probation with conditions that include a nightly curfew. Probation was not available if the Crown's sentencing request was accepted.
Spence must report to jail every Friday evening and will be released from custody Sunday afternoons. Her parents will watch over her children while she's behind bars. Every weekend will count toward three days of her sentence, meaning it will take 30 weeks to complete the entire punishment.