A 21-year-old man was sentenced to 18 years in prison this week for Regina’s first homicide of 2020. Initially going up for first-degree murder, Kurtis Thomas pled guilty to the Court of Queen’s Bench to a lesser charge of manslaughter of Keesha Bitternose.
Bitternose was 29 years old when she passed away. On Jan., 5, 2020, she was found dead by Regina Police Service (RPS) at a residence on the 1500 block of Cameron Street around 11 p.m.
Thomas was given credit for time served in which he will serve over 15 years in prison. But to the family of Bitternose, it wasn’t enough.
The past two years have been difficult for the family as they want answers in the death of their loved one. It still feels unreal to George as she knew her sister had so many plans.
Bitternose left behind four children that range from the ages of 7 to 13. George describes her sister as outgoing and funny.
Bitternose’s father Arlen said every morning when he wakes up, he thinks of his daughter. Remembering the life she once lived and cherishing a photographic memory of her when she was a baby is ingrained in his mind. It is what helps him during his grieving process.
Due to a publication ban, details of the facts presented in the sentencing could not be disclosed for the reason of the two accused who are still before the courts. But despite the 18-year-long sentence for Thomas, Bitternose’s father says justice wasn’t served.
Thomas was one of three people who were charged with Bitternose’s murder. Dillon Ricky Whitehawk, 25, of Regina and Kelly Renee Stonechild, 26, of Regina were also charged with Bitternose’s murder. Their trials will occur sometimes next year.
For the family, waiting for the next two trials halts their grieving process. George said even though the accused is sentenced, it does not bring back her sister.
“As much as we want to put it behind us, and go forward in our healing journey, we still have two more trials going forward,” said George. “It feels like we take one step forward to take 10 steps back. It’s hard.”