A Nova Scotia man convicted of manslaughter in the death of his fiancée has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Supreme Court Justice Kevin Coady handed down his decision Wednesday in Bridgewater, sentencing James Leroy Leopold to seven years in prison, less one year for time served.
A jury found Leopold, of Liverpool, guilty last month in the death of Laura Lee Robertson.
Leopold, 33, was initially charged with second-degree murder after Robertson's death in April 2011. He pleaded not guilty to the charge and the jury found him guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter.
During the trial, Leopold claimed he accidentally killed Robertson, 47, in their Liverpool apartment during a night of drunken sex.
The jury watched a tape where Leopold told police Robertson bit his penis and he quickly reacted to the pain by hitting her in the neck. He also said he panicked and placed her body in a wooded area in Greenfield.
The Crown claimed Leopold deliberately killed his fiancée. The Crown said Robertson died of asphyxiation, so Leopold's hands would have had to be on Robertson's neck for four to five minutes — longer than just a punch.
Robertson's daughter, Amanda Jones, said the outcome is bittersweet.
"I'm not relieved, but I can get some peace from this sentence," Jones said. "I believe [the sentence] could have quadrupled what it was and I probably still wouldn't have been happy, but I do feel a sense of peace."
Coady asked whether Leopold had anything to say before sentencing, but he declined.
That came as a relief to Robertson's son, Timothy.
"If he would've said 'Sorry' to me, I think I would've just laughed in his face," he said, "'Sorry' doesn't mean nothing. 'Sorry' doesn't bring my mom back."
A conviction for manslaughter carries no minimum sentence, except when it is committed with a firearm, in which case the minimum sentence is four years in prison. Sentences can vary from probation to life in prison.