Whitehorse jail inmate given new chance
A Whitehorse Correctional Centre inmate, convicted of a number of violent offences at the jail, has been spared from a prison sentence and given a chance to serve the rest of his sentence in the Yukon.
Michael Nehass, 26, was sentenced on Friday to three years behind bars, in connection with three offences he committed last year at the jail.
With credit given for the time he has already served, Nehass has two years less one day left in his sentence. As a result, Nehass can spend the rest of his term in the Whitehorse jail.
The Crown had asked territorial court Judge Karen Ruddy to send Nehass away to a federal prison for his crimes, which include two assaults on jail guards and a fire that he and another inmate, David Geoghegan, started in a cell in November.
In a separate case last year, while he was in segregation, Nehass broke into another dorm and tried to kill another inmate, Gordon Bill, with a pen wrapped in foil. Bill was sent to hospital with severe stab wounds.
The court has heard that Nehass has spent most of his adult life in jail, including time in prison, for a lengthy list of violent crimes.
Last fall, supporters from Nehass's First Nation, the Teslin Tlingit Council, arranged for Nehass to attend a rehabilitation program in Alberta.
But within days of entering the program, Nehass was ejected for exposing himself to a female resident, the court was told.
On Friday, Nehass said he is ready for rehabilitation again, and First Nation supporters said they are prepared to give him another chance.
"I've been to the [penitentiary] and there's nothing for me there. I want to try a new path," Nehass told Ruddy in court, thanking her for the sentence.
"You've got your chance," Ruddy replied. "Good luck."