A Saskatoon young offender convicted of fatally stabbing Patrick Dong had an apparent change of heart before standing in court and asking to be sentenced as an adult for manslaughter.
The now 20-year-old woman, who cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, feels an adult sentence in the federal system would allow for better treatment, education and First Nations programming, according to her lawyer.
She was two months away from her 18th birthday in October 2016, when she stabbed Dong, 37, six times in the evening darkness on a rural road outside Saskatoon.
On Feb. 6, Justice Shawn Smith found the woman not guilty of first-degree murder and kidnapping, but guilty of manslaughter and unlawful confinement.
Standing in court on Thursday, she apologized and said she didn’t want to fall back into a pattern of criminal behaviour.
“I do feel as if a youth sentence is not sufficient for what I have done,” the woman said.
During trial, the woman said she was drunk and high on methamphetamine and didn’t intend to beat up Dong or to kill him. She said her friends were upset because they suspected Dong of theft.
If he confessed to stealing, she said the plan was to leave Dong outside the city. Instead, Dong was beaten with a bat and a metal pole.
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After he ran roughly one kilometre away, he was knocked down and stabbed.
Crown prosecutor Michael Pilon described the woman’s actions as “senseless and ruthless” as she carried out a “prolonged and vicious attack” that occurred “basically in the middle of nowhere.”
Pilon recommended an 11-year sentence, citing aggravating factors including Dong being outnumbered, the offence including weapons and the teen being on probation while “completely ignoring conditions.”
The woman also has a lengthy criminal record, is a member of the Indian Posse gang and has shown “nothing resembling cooperative or compliant” behaviour on remand.
Her prospects of rehabilitation are “incredibly low,” Pilon said.
He argued the woman should not receive the standard credit of 1.5 days off her sentence for every day spent on remand. Instead, Pilon recommended a 1.25 credit.
Defence lawyer Carson Demmans said an 11-year sentence doesn’t reflect the offender’s circumstances. He argued for a five-year sentence with the standard 1.5 credit.
Despite her actions, Demmans said the woman is intelligent.
She “knows she has potential and wants to use it,” her lawyer said.
The woman is still young and has a supportive family. Despite findings in a pre-sentence report suggesting she doesn’t value counselling, Demmans said she is open to it.
She has also stayed off drugs during her incarceration, Demmans said.
Smith’s decision is expected on June 7.
The Crown is appealing the judge’s not guilty verdicts on the first-degree murder and kidnapping. Prosecutors said the appeal is expected to be heard following the manslaughter sentencing decision.