Screams and sobs broke out in a Regina courtroom as a jury found 30-year-old Duran Redwood guilty of second-degree murder in the death of his girlfriend Celeste Yawney in 2015.
The jury deliberated for more than seven hours Friday, before coming back with a verdict.
Redwood had pleaded not guilty to second degree murder in the case. The defence had asked for a lesser charge of manslaughter, arguing that Redwood has no recollection of the night Yawney died, and he was too drunk to know the consequences of his actions.
The Crown argued that the nature of Yawney’s injuries suggest intent. An autopsy showed that Yawney died of blunt force trauma to the head and torso.
Now-publishable details indicate that Yawney had previously been abused by Redwood.
“As an older sister, this has been hard for me when this was happening to Celeste. She was beaten numerous times before she was murdered and as an older sister, I didn’t know exactly how to help, even though you’ve read different things on domestic violence and it really is exactly how it seems,” Yawney’s sister Janine Pereira said.
In 2014, a year before Yawney’s death, Redwood was charged with aggravated assault. He eventually pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of assault causing bodily harm.
The court ruled that he could not live with Yawney, and he was ordered to take a domestic violence course.
The crown couldn’t argue Redwood’s history of domestic violence in this current trial because of a court ruling. The judge ruled that it would be prejudicial to question Redwood about his record, and irrelevant to the case.
“The cycle of abuse is real and there’s been so many studies and so much evidence that shows that is what happens and it shows some intention,” Pereira said. “I feel like the jury is going to wonder why this information wasn’t given to them.”
Before her death, Yawney worked at the Regina YWCA, helping women who had escaped domestic violence.
“The most important thing to me now and I think my siblings, is that I don’t want anybody to forget about my sister Celeste,” Pereira said. “She was such a light and a ray of sunshine. She really did want to help people and she really would give you the shirt off her back.”
Sentencing will take place on February 7.
With files from Allison Bamford