Livia Starlight, Alberta mother who killed son, sentenced to 26 months in Indigenous healing lodge
Tsuut'ina mother pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year in 2-year-old's 2014 killing
An Alberta mother who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her two-year-old son has been sentenced to spend 26 months at an Indigenous healing lodge.
Livia Starlight, who is from Tsuut'ina Nation on Calgary's southwest corner, admitted in February to killing her son, Traezlin, in September 2014.
At the time of Traezlin's death, Starlight was already under investigation for child abuse stemming from previous hospital admissions.
According to an agreed statement of facts, Starlight, 30, was home alone with her son and three-year-old daughter at the time.
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Traezlin had been whining and she was aggressive with him. He suffered severe internal bleeding and brain damage.
Both Crown and defence counsel told Court of Queen's Bench Justice William Tilleman that they agree Starlight should serve 26 months at the Okimaw Ohci Healing Lodge for Indigenous Women.
The healing lodge in Maple Creek, Sask., is under the management and control of Correctional Service Canada.
The lawyers said the length and location are appropriate because Starlight pleaded guilty and grapples with ongoing drug and alcohol abuse, as well as trauma from a violent childhood.
Starlight has five other children, one who was born shortly after Traezlin was killed.
Starlight gave a statement Friday before the court in Calgary was adjourned for sentencing.
She cried and told her family members she was sorry for her addictions and behaviour.
"I'm so sorry for my lifestyle. I'm so sorry for my family who are here today," she said in court.
"I'm so sorry for my kids who had to endure my substance abuse … and mostly I'm sorry to my little boy, Traezlin."
She vowed to change her life.
History of child abuse investigations
In the boy's short life, he suffered injuries four separate times that led to police involvement, including one that was ongoing at the time of his death after his mother took him to hospital with a black eye and a head injury.
Traezlin had been admitted to the Alberta Children's Hospital twice — in June and August of 2014 — where staff noticed suspicious injuries and police launched two investigations.
In June 2014, Traezlin was in foster care but Starlight had access to him for visits through a Parent Guardianship Order.
On the last day of a two-night visit, Starlight took the boy to the hospital. Staff at the children's hospital noticed suspicious bruising on Traezlin on June 1, 2014.
It was unclear whether the injuries had been inflicted by Traezlin's foster parents or Starlight, so he was left in his mother's care while police investigated.
In August 2014, Starlight took the child to the hospital again, this time with a head injury.
She told authorities Traezlin had fallen out of his car seat and landed on his head. He had a black eye, bruises on his ear and head, and swelling of his brain.
Traezlin continued to live with his mother, who was being supervised by Tsuut'ina Child and Family Services, until his death in September 2014.