WARNING: This story contains graphic details
By Charles Hamilton, CBC News
A teenage girl will serve a mandatory life sentence after a Saskatchewan judge decided Tuesday to sentence her as an adult for the murder of six-week old Nikosis Cantre.
The teenager had already confessed in chilling detail to the July 2016 killing of the baby boy and pleaded guilty last October to second-degree murder, but she can’t be identified because of her age at the time of the murder.
The decision to sentence her as an adult means the teen will serve an automatic life sentence, and won’t be eligible for parole until 2023. The maximum sentence for a youth convicted of second-degree murder is seven years.
A crowd of supporters gathered outside Saskatoon’s provincial court after the judge’s decision was heard.
“We got justice,” they yelled as the family left.
Jeffery Longman, Nikosis’s grandfather, said it’s a small victory in what’s been “a nightmare every day,” for him and his family.
“This life sentence will never bring him back,” Longman said. “We have to live with that every day. All we have to do now is try to heal as a family. Try and put this tragic day behind us.”
The family is eager for her name to be made public, Longman said, “so everybody will know her name, so everybody will know who she is, that what she did was wrong and [so] that this will never, ever happen again. That’s what I want.”
The teen’s defence attorney, Brian Pfefferle, had argued that the combination of fetal alcohol spectrum disorder, her age and her childhood — which included sexual abuse — made her “incapable of really controlling her behaviour and thinking.”
In explaining the decision, Justice Anand said the teen’s age and cognitive issues didn’t excuse her actions that night.
“You had the ability to control your actions. You didn’t,” Anand said directly to the girl.
Along with a life sentence, there will also be a lifetime firearm ban for the teen. The judge has recommended that the teen spend as much of her sentence as possible at Prairie Regional Psychiatric Centre.
Teen confessed to killing
During her sentencing hearing last December, the court watched police room evidence tape of the teen confessing to the killing. She told police she escaped the open custody wing of Kilburn Hall — a youth detention facility — the night before the killing.
After wandering the streets for hours, she was eventually taken in by the Cantre family and offered a place to stay.
She had been drinking and told police she may have smoked a joint laced with crystal meth in the hours after her escape.
Once inside the home the teen drank vodka while the rest of the house was asleep.
Teen apology not accepted by family
The teen heard the baby, Nikosis, crying. She then beat and stabbed the child before leaving the room.
“I let all my anger out on that baby,” she said on the tape.
The teen offered a brief statement in court, saying she is “truly sorry” and that “if this happened to my baby, I would be very devastated.”
That apology was not accepted by Longman.
“There’s no sorries for what you did. Sorry ain’t gonna bring him back,” he said outside the courtroom during the December sentencing hearing.