A St. Theresa Point First Nation man has been sentenced to 18 years in prison for a killing described by a judge as a tragic end for far too many Indigenous women.
Jonathan Wood, 38, was convicted of manslaughter following a trial last year in the January 2018 killing of his wife, Kathleen Wood.
The couple had spent the night drinking "super juice" homebrew at Jonathan’s brother’s home when Jonathan beat her so violently that he fractured all but one of her ribs, broke her jaw and severed her tongue.
"The commonness of Indigenous women dying at the hands of men means, tragically, Mrs. Wood’s death is not unique," Queen’s Bench Justice Chris Martin said Tuesday. "Nonetheless, it is by any means horrible, perhaps more so because of how often these senseless deaths occur."
Jonathan Wood stood trial charged with second-degree murder, but Martin had ruled Wood’s extreme intoxication left him unable to determine if he had the necessary intent to kill.
The killing occurred against a familiar backdrop of poverty, isolation, alcoholism and repeated acts of domestic abuse, Martin said.
"The context of the killing starkly personifies the plight of many Indigenous families struggling with the lingering effects of Canada’s historical treatment of its First Peoples and the seeming inability, or neglect, to meaningfully repair the damage with a sense of urgency," he said.
At trial, Jonathan Wood testified he remembered just "bits and pieces" of the night Kathleen, 35, ended up dead on the floor of his brother’s home.
Tanya Wood, girlfriend of homeowner Scotty Wood, testified she and Scotty had moved to a bedroom when they heard loud arguing and the sound of stomping feet coming from the living room. She looked through a hole in the door to see Jonathan Wood punching Kathleen in the head.
When Scotty later made a move to check on Kathleen as she lay dying on the floor, Wood told him to "leave her alone," Scotty testified.
Wood, who testified he had also been snorting ground-up Percocets and smoking marijuana that night, said he had no memory of assaulting Kathleen, but remembered performing CPR on her.
Prior to the fatal attack, Wood had been convicted of assaulting Kathleen four times, most recently in 2016, when he was sentenced to 18 months in jail.
Court records show Wood was still on probation for a prior assault on Kathleen when he punched her about the face and body whiel she was in bed, leaving her with a broken arm and orbital bone, a partially collapsed lung and three cracked ribs.
In December 2017, a month before she was killed, Kathleen posted Wood’s bail as he sat in jail charged with assaulting a man.
At the time of Kathleen’s death, Wood was still bound by a probation order to have no contact with her and was banned from staying in St. Theresa Point until he had completed a residential alcohol treatment program.
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.