A Whitehorse woman was sentenced on Tuesday to life in prison without eligibility for parole for 14 years for killing another woman near the city's waterfront last year.

A Yukon Supreme Court jury found Alicia Murphy, 29, guilty on Oct. 27 of second-degree murder in the death of Evangeline Billy, who was found beaten and drowned in the Yukon River in June 2008.

At least a dozen friends and relatives of Billy, who they say was 28 at the time of her death, were on hand for Tuesday's sentencing in the Whitehorse courthouse.

A second-degree murder conviction carries a life sentence with no eligibility of parole for at least 10 years.

At a sentencing hearing Thursday, the Crown had asked that Murphy serve 14 to 16 years behind bars before she is eligible for parole. The defence had called for 10 to 12 years.

But in handing down his ruling, Yukon Supreme Court Justice Ron Veale said the senseless and brutal killing of an extremely intoxicated victim warrants the extra years behind bars before Murphy can seek parole.

Veale noted that at the time of Billy's death, Murphy was awaiting sentencing for the stabbing of her common-law husband in December 2007.

Court also heard during last week's sentencing hearing that Murphy had been "quite a handful" for staff at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre, where she had been kept in custody for the past 18 months.

Jail staff reported 11 incidents involving Murphy, including fights, contraband and bullying.

Possibility of rehabilitation

Crown prosecutor Noel Sinclair told the court that such behaviour in a federal penitentiary would not bode well for an early release.

But Veale also spoke of Murphy's relatively young age, saying there is an opportunity for her to be rehabilitated.

He also pointed to trauma Murphy has experienced in her life, including the suicide of her father when she was two years old.

The sentence means Murphy cannot apply for release from prison until June 2022 at the earliest, and only if the National Parole Board determines she is no longer a threat to the public.

Since her conviction carries an automatic life sentence, she will be under court supervision for the rest of her life.

Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation Chief Eddie Skookum, who spoke for Billy's family and friends, told reporters outside the courthouse they were satisfied with the sentence and now hope to start healing.