A 19-year-old woman covered her face with her hands and cried after being convicted in Edmontonon Mondayof manslaughter for her part in the brutal slaying of a 13-year-old girl.
The woman, who can't be named because she was 17 at the time of the crime,was also found guilty of kidnapping and sexually assaulting Nina Courtepatte in April 2005.
Shehad been charged with first-degree murder.
But Justice June Ross said she opted to convict the 19-year-old of manslaughter because she left the crime scene— a muddy and deserted golf course outside Edmonton— before the fatal beating began.
"[The accused] did more than leave. She communicated to everyone present she was leaving and she said that she was leaving," Ross said.
"She told them this and said she was taking [Courtepatte's friend] to the car because she was cold, and she didn't need to see this."
Ross said the accused aided and abetted Joseph Laboucan of Fort St. John, B.C., who has already been sentenced to life for his part in the crime.
The young woman knew about Laboucan's idea to find and kill a person, and evidenceshowsshe waspresent when Courtepatte was lured away from West Edmonton Mall with the promise of a bush party, said the judge.
Ross saidthe accusedwas the first to hit Courtepatte when the group arrived at the golf course and there was evidence to show the woman actually held Courtepatte down while she was being sexually assaulted.
Hearing to determine sentencing
Defence lawyer Colleen Connollysaid her client was relieved to be acquitted of first-degree murder.
"She is still very unhappy about any part that she played in what's taken place here in what'sthe loss of Nina's life, and obviously has great concern over what she's going to be facing for sentencing come July 16."
During the trial, Connollyarguedher clientwasn't present at the fatal beating and didn't understand her companions actually planned to kill the girl.
But Crown prosecutor John Watson pointed out thatthe accused knew about the plan two days before Courtepatte was killed and did nothing to warn her.
The woman now faces a hearing to determine whether she will be sentenced as a youth or an adult.
Five people were charged in Courtepatte's death.
One youth has already pleaded guilty to first-degree murder, while Laboucan was convicted of first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison for his role.
A second man, Michael Briscoe of Edmonton, told police he was simply swept along in the events and was acquitted.
Laboucan is appealing his conviction, while the Crown is appealing Briscoe's acquittal.
A third trial of another underage female is scheduled for later this spring.