Her victim was a vulnerable, defenceless baby who was less than two months old. Now, the fate of a young offender is in the hands of the judge who will effectively determine where the accused will serve her time and for how long.
The sentencing hearing for the now 18-year-old came to a close on Friday but not before she stood and addressed the family of Nikosis Cantre, weeping through the window of the prisoners’ box before sitting down.
“I’m truly sorry for what I’ve done. I just hope that I never go through this again,” said the teen.
“I’m sorry to the family, to the whole community.”
Instead of preparing for his second Christmas, Nikosis’s family has had to hear extremely graphic and gruesome details in court about how the six-week-old was choked and beaten to death in July 2016 by the teen, an adolescent they had taken in off the streets of Saskatoon — not knowing that she had escaped from the Kilburn Hall Youth Detention Centre the day before.
“I cry every day when I wake up. I cry every day when I go to bed,” said Jeffery Longman, Nikosis’ grandfather.
“It’s just really hard to know that we lost him in such a tragic way.”
The court heard the teen has exhibited a pattern of violence, attacking other youth and staff in centres where she was held in custody as well as mutilating and skinning animals alive.
Perhaps the eeriest testimony reviewed by the Crown was what the teen had told authorities after the murder.
She feared having children of her own saying, “I won’t do it again, but I’m afraid it may happen again.”
“The fact that it was a baby just makes the crime seem more heinous because of the vulnerability of an infant. I would be concerned even if it had been an unprovoked act — which it was — on somebody that wasn’t an infant,” said Jennifer Claxton-Viczko, Crown prosecutor.
The judge will now have to determine if the 18-year-old should be sentenced as a youth or adult for the crime.
The defence argued that the young woman had already been handed a life sentence at birth with no parental guidance growing up.
“This is a young woman who at the time of the offence was 16, but for all intents and purposes was much younger in every single way.”
The Crown disagreed, arguing that those deficiencies or impairments should not be a consideration, and that the youth is old enough to be sentenced as an adult based on age-related maturity.
“The sentence as an adult would allow for a much longer sentence. It would be a life sentence where she could be under care and supervision given not only the programming that she needs and attempts at rehabilitation but also supervision to ensure that the public remains safe,” the Crown argued.
A decision on this matter will handed down Feb. 27, 2018. Defence counsel has signalled that if the teen is sentenced as an adult, he will not argue for her identity to be withheld from the public.