With the expiry of the 30-day appeal period, Jacqueline Henderson of Montreal Lake First Nation is no longer protected by a publication ban under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
Last month, Henderson was sentenced as an adult for the horrific murder of a six-week-old infant and sentenced to life in prison with no parole eligibility for seven years.
“It’s a situation where we have someone in many respects truly lost and the system isn’t equipped to deal with someone like her,” said Henderson’s lawyer, Brian Pfefferle.
He called the second-degree murder case both horrific and tragic for all parties involved.
“Tragic in the sense of the loss to the family of the young baby, tragic in the sense of the life that accused lived throughout her childhood and got to the point where she’s at.”
On July 3, 2016, Henderson beat, stabbed and stomped little Nikosis Jace Cantre to death and would later plead guilty to the crime.
The baby’s brutal death took place after Cantre’s family took the teen in off the streets and gave her a roof over her head.
“There’s a lot of anger that is directed at offenders like her and there should also be a lot of sympathy, a lot of empathy,” Pfefferle said.
To say Henderson was born into disadvantage would be an understatement; Pfefferle said in her situation it was “disparity on steroids.”
He says the Gladue report documents appalling sexual abuse at the hands of multiple people and her psychological reports paint the picture of hopelessness where Henderson would require 24-hour supervision.
During sentencing, the judge ruled her fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) contributed to this awful crime, but not her age, and sentenced her as an adult.
Perhaps what makes Henderson so dangerous is she is unassuming. According to her lawyer she is also gentle and polite.
“One can see why the family of Nikosis felt that she was an OK person to welcome into their home. Having met her myself I can see why someone thought that that was appropriate,” Pfefferle added.
During sentencing submissions, court also heard that Henderson was known for her violent outbursts and prior to this crime tortured animals by skinning them alive.
“We have people that are evil in our world and I wouldn’t say this girl is one them,” Pfefferle said.
“I think she’s just very, very sick and I hope that she get some help and have some semblance of a life in whatever facility is taking care of her.”
The judge recommended Henderson serve her time at the Regional Psychiatric Centre, a decision that will ultimately be up to Corrections. The facility was also suggested by the Crown, saying it was the most appropriate place to address Henderson’s long-term needs and ensure the public remained safe.