Two years and a month almost to the day, the teen shooter who killed four people and injured seven others in La Loche on January 22, 2016 will be sentenced in his home community.
Presiding Judge Janet McIvor stated in October 2017 she would take the last few months to decide whether or not the male will be sentenced as a youth or an adult. The maximum length of a youth sentence is six years in custody and four years supervision. An adult sentence is life in prison with a chance for parole after 10 years.
The now 19-year-old, who cannot be named as he was 17 at the time of the shooting, killed brothers Dayne and Drayden Fontaine in a home before proceeding to La Loche Community School, killing teacher Adam Wood and teacher's aide Marie Janvier. He pleaded guilty to charges associated with the incident in October 2016, which were two counts of first degree murder, two counts of second degree murder, and seven counts of attempted murder.
Sentencing hearings took place in May and June 2017, where court heard victim impact statements, testimony from expert witnesses for both defence and Crown, police interviews, and from the teen himself who read a statement apologizing for his actions.
Before closing arguments took place, a Gladue report, which looks at factors of an Indigenous offender, was ordered by defence counsel. After evidence of the youth’s birth mother’s drinking history came to light, the defence’s expert witnesses diagnosed the male with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder.
Crown counsel argued the teen knew what he was doing as it came out he was searching 'what does it feel like to shoot someone' through a Google search.
Defence said given the teen’s cognitive issues, he was dealing with a number of things in ‘his world’.
During the first week of sentencing hearings, Phyllis Longobardi, the school's former assistant principal, spoke to meadowlakeNOW. She said she hopes the shooter is convicted as an adult, as it it would set a precedent for any other youth thinking of committing a similar type of attack. The teen shot her at close range and she suffered from injuries to her arm and abdomen.
“He can’t be able to forget what he’s done,” Longobardi said. “Any other person considering, they need to understand if you carry a gun into a school, you’re getting a big term. The judge is going to set the precedent, and if she sets it the right way, maybe it’s a deterrent for the kid on the fence thinking the same thing.”
The proceedings will also be broadcast via CCTV in a Meadow Lake courtroom. Court is set to commence at 10 a.m.
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