A judge at the Superior Court of Justice in Thunder Bay has sentenced Joseph Wesley to eight years in prison for the killing of Adam Yellowhead.

Yellowhead died of strangulation in August of 2012, at the age of 65.

Wesley's attorney, Christopher Watkins, said the judge did a good job balancing the impact of the crime on the victim's family, with the difficult circumstances of Wesley's upbringing.

Christopher Watkins

Thunder Bay lawyer Chris Watkins said he appreciates the efforts of a volunteer to provide coverage of court proceedings. (Adam Burns/CBC)

"A lot of significantly terrible things had happened to him in his youth — being taken away from his family, in foster care, subject to phsyical, sexual [and] emotional abuse," Watkins said.

"I think this case really encapsulates the impacts of history, really,” he added. “And how history comes to a moment, and where tragedy occurs."

Watkins said that, with time served, Wesley will likely have 6.5 years left on his sentence, though he could be released earlier.

Wesley was supposed to be sentenced in September in Thunder Bay Superior Court, but Watkins had just received the Gladue report. The report, which outlines unique background factors and circumstances in the offender's life, is something the courts must take into consideration when sentencing First Nations offenders.

Watkins had proposed a sentence of three to six years, less time already served.

The prosecution said it wanted a 10- to 12-year prison sentence.