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Teen sentenced as adult in fatal beating of La Ronge, Sask. restaurant owner

Austin Bird was one of four people charged in the death of Simon Grant.
Simon Grant died in hospital of blunt force trauma after an attack at Louisiana's Bar-B-Que Restaurant in La Ronge, Sask., in April 2017. Supplied

One of three young people who beat a northern Saskatchewan restaurant owner so badly that he didn’t survive has been sentenced to nine years in prison.

Judge Robert Lane gave the 19-year-old an adult sentence for what the judge called a reprehensible, unjustified and evil act.

READ MORE: Boy receives maximum youth sentence in La Ronge, Sask. killing

Simon Grant died in hospital of blunt force trauma after the attack at Louisiana’s Bar-B-Que Restaurant in La Ronge in April 2017.

The offender, who was 17 at the time, was charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.

Lane described in La Ronge provincial court how three masked individuals entered the business through the back door at closing time and attacked Grant with a baseball bat.

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The restaurant owner sustained 10 blows to the body – including three to the head – and was left dying in a pool of blood as he was robbed of his valuables.

“This was a well thought out adult-like plan,” Lane told court in La Ronge on Thursday. “It’s hard for me to think about a more evil and unjustified attack.”

The 19-year-old also faces a 10-year firearms prohibition, is not to contact Grant’s family and must submit a DNA sample to the court.

He is getting a little over three years of credit for time spent in custody.

READ MORE: Third guilty plea to manslaughter in La Ronge, Sask. restaurant attack

The defence had requested a three-year rehabilitative youth sentence for the offender, but the Crown argued for an adult punishment of 13 to 15 years.

Lane said an adult sentence was necessary for there to be respect for the justice system. He also said a youth sentence would fail at rehabilitating the teen.

“I’m very happy about the judge’s decision and I’m grateful for the way he told the story,” said Grant’s widow, Cora Laich. “It was something that was always in the back of my head.

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“I’m looking forward to moving on … just joy and sunlight,” she said. “I see Simon looking down.”

Laich said the way the judge described the attack “spoke volumes to me that … (he) is really understanding the brutality of the crime.”

The defence has 30 days to challenge the decision. If no appeal is made, a court-ordered publication ban on the offender’s name expires.

Two others have already been sentenced for manslaughter in Grant’s death. Austin Bird, who was 18 at the time of the attack, received a seven-year term. Another teen who was 14 was given a youth sentence of three years.

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