Calgary mom who killed daughter gets probation

A Calgary mother will not serve any jail time for strangling her teenage daughter, a judge rules.
Aset Magomadova, pictured leaving the Calgary Courts Centre in June, has received a suspended sentence for killing her daughter. (CBC)

A Calgary mother will not serve any jail time for strangling her teenage daughter, a judge ruled Thursday.

Aset Magomadova, who was convicted last fall of manslaughter, was instead given a suspended sentence and three years of probation.

Magomadova used a scarf to kill her troubled daughter, Aminat, 14, after a violent struggle in their southeast Calgary home in 2007.

The mother was acquitted of the original second-degree murder charge.

Crown prosecutor Mac Vomberg had asked the Court of Queen's Bench for a 12-year sentence, arguing that Magomadova abused her position of trust and authority and that her actions needed to be strongly condemned.

But Justice Sal LoVecchio, reading from his 25-page decision, said: "Showing mercy does not mean we approve of the act. It simply means sometimes a particular situation may demand a slightly different solution.

"At first blush that may sound like a get out of jail free card. It is not," the judge said, pointing out the suspended sentence will come with conditions that, if breached, would land Magomadova back in court.

Under those conditions, the judge said Magomadova:

  • Must seek counselling and treatment for anger management, depression, bereavement and grief.
  • Cannot own any weapons.
  • Must provide a blood sample for registration with the national DNA database.
  • Must keep the peace and be of good behaviour.
  • Must appear in court when required.

"We're relieved at the compassion and mercy that has been shown," said Marilyn Millions, a friend of the Magomadova family.

Traumatic background

During sentencing arguments last month, defence lawyer Alain Hepner urged the judge to take into account Magomadova's "catastrophic" background.

Magomadova came to Canada from war-torn Chechnya in 2003. Her husband was killed in the conflict while she was pregnant with her son. Her son was later diagnosed with a severe form of muscular dystrophy.

"It was a very traumatic three years," Hepner said after the sentencing. "Probably it will be traumatic for the rest of her life in terms of what she has done."

During the judge-only trial, Aminat was portrayed as an out-of-control teen who had threatened to stab other students and boasted about drug use, stealing and having sex.

"We're really relieved that Aset has not received a jail sentence,"  Millions said. "The family's hope is that mental health services for young people will be improved and changed because of this so that others do not fall through the cracks as Aminat did."

"It was a complicated case in terms of emotion and law," Vomberg said, adding that no decision has been made yet on whether to appeal the sentence. 

"That's not up to myself. That's up to another branch of Alberta Justice."

With files from the CBC's Bryan Labby and Scott Dippel