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‘Sense of relief’ for family of slain teen after jury finds man guilty of murder

Click to play video: 'Jury finds man guilty in stabbing death of Montreal teen'
Jury finds man guilty in stabbing death of Montreal teen
WATCH: Family members for Jannai Dopwell-Bailey are speaking out following the second verdict at a trial into the Montreal teen's death. Phil Carpenter reports – May 20, 2024

Family, friends and supporters met outside the Mile End High School in the Montreal’s Côte-des-Neiges district where 16 year-old Jannai Dopwell-Baley was attacked on Oct. 18, 2021 and later died.

“He wasn’t in a gang,” his mother Charla Dopwell said. “I raised my son from the day he was born until he was 16 years old and lost his life, and he was in school. He wasn’t in a gang.”

The teen was attacked after exiting the school and was declared dead shortly after in hospital. On Sunday, a jury found Andrei Donet guilty of second-degree murder in Dopwell-Bailey’s death.

In 2023, a minor — the other person charged in the killing — was also found guilty of second-degree murder.

According to witness testimony given during the trial that just concluded, Donet used pepper spray on Dopwell-Baily during the attack, and it was the minor who stabbed the victim repeatedly. The witness described the Dopwell-Bailey’s screams as a mix of pain and surprise.

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During the trial, the jury saw surveillance video showing Dopwell-Bailey running back into the school after the assault. His mother, who was in the courtroom at the time, walked out in tears.

“Just seeing my son, his last moments,” she said Monday while standing near the spot where her son was attacked. “I’m seeing my son alive (on the screen) and I know he’s dead.”

Now, with Sunday’s verdict, she and other family members say they are starting to feel more hopeful.

“I feel a sense of relief that there was a guilty verdict,” Kevin George, Dopwell-Baily’s godfather and cousin told Global News.

“There’s always that concern when there’s this type of crime that the perpetrators get off.”

Click to play video: 'Montrealers hold vigil to honour Jannai Dopwell-Bailey, teen killed outside his school'
Montrealers hold vigil to honour Jannai Dopwell-Bailey, teen killed outside his school

A second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with eligibility for parole between 10 and 25 years. Dopwell hopes that the sentencing will reflect the severity of the crime.

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“I hope they give him a good sentence,” she said. “Long enough so that he can stay inside of there and realize what he did to me and my family.”

Community members like Charlene Hunte, who also lost a son to murder years ago, agrees and doing what she can to support the family.

“Don’t blame yourself,” she advises Dopwell. “We as parents and mothers, we can’t blame ourselves. We just have to live one day at a time and take care of ourselves so that we can live in on in their memory.”

Sentencing hearing for Donet will begin in late May.

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