Teen who killed baby wouldn't get needed 'lifelong' services with youth sentence: expert

The teenager who murdered a six-week-old baby while the child's family was sleeping nearby could learn her fate this week.

WARNING: This story contains graphic details

A memorial for Nikosis Cantre outside the little boy's home. (CBC)

A judge will soon decide whether or not a teen who killed six-week old Nikosis Cantre will spend the rest of her life in prison. 

The teenager has already pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the killing of the baby boy in July 2016 and confessed in chilling detail about the murder.

On Tuesday, Crown prosecutor Jennifer Claxton-Viczko called four witnesses.

One of those witnesses, Jennifer Peterson, testified the teen would not benefit from the most intensive youth rehabilitation programs in the province. 

"The ultimate conclusion was that we didn't have a program available," said Peterson, who is the co-ordinator for the province's Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision (IRCS) program.

Peterson said a team of experts decided against placing the youth in the program because she had "lifelong needs" and would be a risk to re-offend if she was let out after seven years. 

A maximum sentence for a young offender guilty of second-degree murder is seven years — four in custody and three under community supervision.

If the teen is sentenced as an adult, she faces life in prison. 

Supports for people serving life sentence 

Another Crown witness, James Gonzo from Correctional Services Canada, explained in great detail how a person serving a life sentence is under some sort of supervision for the rest of their life. 

If the teen is sentenced as an adult and receives a life sentence, she would be eligible for parole by the time she was 25. But Gonzo said that doesn't necessarily mean she would be released.

"We would never support or recommend day or full parole grant for someone assessed a high risk to reoffend," he told the court. 

He said there are lifelong supports for people who are serving a life sentence and are let out on parole. 

The court also heard testimony that the only maximum-security prison that houses female inmates in the Prairie region is the Edmonton Institution. 

Court heard a breakdown of the kinds of programing there.

Crown seeking adult sentence

The Crown has announced its intention to see the teen sentenced as an adult. 

Cantre's family has been attending court and had previously said they want an adult sentence. 

Nikosis Cantre's grandfather Jeffery Longman, left, with supporters outside Saskatoon Provincial Court. (Devin Heroux/CBC)

Last week, court watched police room evidence tape of the teen confessing to the killing. She told police she escaped the open custody wing of Kilburn Hall the night before the killing. After wandering the streets for hours, she was eventually taken in by the Cantre family and offered a place to stay. 

She had been drinking and told police she may have smoked a joint laced with crystal meth in the hours after her escape. 

Once inside the home the teen drank vodka while the rest of the house was asleep.

The teen heard the baby, Nikosis, crying. She then beat and stabbed the child before leaving the room.

"I let all my anger out on that baby," she said on the tape.

CBC's Charles Hamilton reported live from the hearing. You can see his tweets below.

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