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Manitoba man sentenced to life for murder in God’s Lake First Nation

Crystal Andrews.
Crystal Andrews. RCMP handout

A Manitoba man has been sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years and 10 months for the killing of Crystal Andrews.

Michael William Okemow, who is 40, was found guilty earlier this year of second-degree murder in the beating death of Andrews, who was 22, in God’s Lake First Nation, a remote fly-in community in northeastern Manitoba.

Justice Chris Martin says in his sentencing, delivered earlier this month, that the killing has had a big impact on the victim’s family and the community, because she is one of so many murdered Indigenous women.

Court heard Andrews, a young mom, was walking along a road early in the morning in 2015 when Okemow somehow got her into his vehicle, drove her to an isolated area and beat her to death.

Read more: Arrest made in 2015 beating death on Manitoba First Nation

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The court took special effort to deliver the verdict and sentencing in the community, which was under lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Martin says it was important for the First Nation members to bear witness to the case to help its healing.

Click to play video 'Arrest made in 2015 beating death on Manitoba First Nation' Arrest made in 2015 beating death on Manitoba First Nation
Arrest made in 2015 beating death on Manitoba First Nation