Shooting death nets 18-year sentence


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The first time Leslie McLennan met Deena Marwick was in a junior high art class when Deena threw an eraser at the back of her head.

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The first time Leslie McLennan met Deena Marwick was in a junior high art class when Deena threw an eraser at the back of her head.

“I heard the loudest laugh I had ever heard in my life, and a huge snort,” McLennan recounted more than 30 years later, in a victim impact statement read out Thursday in a Winnipeg courtroom.

McLennan, who had a troubled home life, said she had planned to kill herself that day. Instead, she found a new friend she would come to love like a sister, and through her, a new family to call her own.

The Law Courts of Manitoba (Winnipeg Free Press Files)

“She was the coolest kid I ever met,” McLennan said. “I never told you this sissy, but you saved my life on this day. I should have told you, now I never can.”

Marwick, 45, was shot dead Aug. 16, 2021, after a woman Marwick thought was going to sell her and a male friend drugs instead tried to rob them.

Laura Fay Buboire, 32, was originally charged with second-degree murder, but in a plea bargain agreed to admit guilt to the lesser charge of manslaughter. She was sentenced Thursday to 18 years in prison.

Court heard Buboire was high on meth and heroin at the time of the slaying, leaving her unable to form the intent to kill.

“This manslaughter is as close to a second-degree murder as you can get,” Crown attorney Kaley Tschetter told King’s Bench Justice Gerald Chartier. “But for her level of intoxication, Ms. Buboire would be facing a life sentence.”

According to an agreed statement of facts read out in court, Marwick and a male friend drove to Winnipeg from Kenora, Ont., on Aug. 16 when Marwick called another friend to help them find some meth.

“After a few failed attempts,” Marwick and (her male friend) ended up waiting outside a Young Street address in their rented car when a woman they didn’t know arrived and got into their vehicle, Tschetter told court, reading from the agreed statement of facts.

When Marwick asked the woman, later identified as Buboire, if she had been sent by her friend, Buboire pulled out a sawed-off rifle and demanded money. Marwick’s friend gave Buboire $25, but she said it wasn’t enough and threatened to shoot them.

“Deena asked her not to shoot,” Tschetter said. “Then (the male) heard a popping noise and smelled sulfur. He didn’t think it was a real gun. He thought it was a cap gun.”

The man saw Marwick “stiffening up,” thought she was having a seizure and told Buboire to go away. It was only when the man touched Marwick’s side and felt blood that he realized she had been shot.

An area resident who heard the rifle shot and saw Buboire running from the scene, helped pull Marwick from the car and performed CPR. Paramedics arrived within minutes and found Marwick’s friend “cradling her head, asking her not to go,” Tschetter said.

Marwick was rushed to Health Sciences Centre, where she was pronounced dead less than an hour later.

A police dog led officers to the 500 block of Langside Street, where officers found a rifle discarded between two houses.

Just one hour before the shooting, Buboire was involved in the robbery of a man at his St. Mary Avenue apartment. The victim told police a woman held a sawed-off rifle on him while three males ransacked his apartment.

When the robbers left, Buboire forgot her purse, which had her identification.

Laura Fay Buboire (Police / Handout)

Family members and friends in the court gallery cried as they heard details of Marwick’s killing for the first time.

Marwick had moved into her parents’ home the previous October to help care for her terminally ill mother, after her father contracted pancreatic cancer, Marwick’s sister Heather Heinzelmann told court.

Marwick’s father died the following January. Her mother deteriorated after Marwick’s death and she died three months later.

Shelley Hodgson said she and everyone who loved Marwick have been forever changed by her killing.

“I had hoped to have her in my life until we were old and gray,” the friend said. “We had different lives and lost touch at times, but always had a love like sisters.”

Buboire, who is from Sagkeeng First Nation, was raised in foster care, “surrounded by addictions,” and turned to substance abuse to cope with childhood trauma, said defence lawyer Andrew McKelvey-Gunson.

“She has led an extremely difficult life.”

Buboire apologised to Marwick’s family.

“I know words can’t bring her back,” she said. “I am not asking for forgiveness… I really don’t know what to say, but I really am sorry.”

Chartier credited Buboire for time served, reducing her remaining sentence to just over 15 years.

Dean Pritchard

Dean Pritchard
Courts reporter

Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.


Updated on Friday, May 26, 2023 10:17 AM CDT: Changes tile photo, adds photo

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