Edmonton woman sentenced to 10 years for manslaughter in death of senior

An Edmonton woman was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years imprisonment in the manslaughter death of an 83-year-old great-grandmother.

Giuseppina Micieli, 83, was attacked inside her suite in city seniors' residence

Victim Giuseppina Micieli, above, was attacked in her McCauley area seniors' residence in July 2019. Cynthia Hamelin, convicted of manslaughter in the death, was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison. (Serenity Funeral Service)

An Edmonton woman was sentenced Wednesday to 10 years in prison for the death of an 83-year-old great-grandmother.

Cynthia Hamelin pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year in the 2019 death of Giuseppina Micieli. She had originally been charged with first-degree murder.

Victim impact statements read Wednesday in Edmonton Court of Queen's Bench described Micieli as a loving woman of faith who held together generations of family, her loss leaving a hole in the lives of relatives and residents of the seniors' home where she was attacked.

"I don't understand how anyone can harm a tiny frail 83-year-old woman," Micieli's daughter Maria Filice wrote in her statement.

Micieli died in hospital a month after being beaten and robbed in her own home.

According to an agreed statement of facts, Hamelin deceived her way into the Piazza Italia Seniors residence in the McCauley neighbourhood in July 2019.

At the time, she was facing almost two dozen break-and-enter charges related to seniors' assisted-living residences. Hamelin was under 24-hour house arrest and ordered to stay away from seniors' facilities.

After gaining entry that night, she stole a wallet belonging to another resident before entering Micieli's suite.

'Craven behaviour'

Hamelin locked Micieli inside and assaulted her. Micieli suffered a fractured right hip, five broken ribs and bruises to the forehead, arms and chest.

Because of the injuries, she developed worsening pneumonia.

Justice Sterling Sanderman listed Hamelin's significant record and attempts to pin responsibility on others were among the aggravating factors.

The victim's vulnerability and the level of violence inflicted also played into his decision, Sanderman said.

"Your act on this night was a betrayal of this basic tenet that governs all of our lives: respect for the elderly," he said.

He called the theft of three gold rings — pulled off the victim's fingers — "extremely craven behaviour." The rings, including a wedding band and a family ring from Italy, were never recovered.

Gladue report

The sentence was in line with the 10 years requested by the Crown but above the 5½  to seven years suggested by defence lawyer George Isshak, making his first appearance in court for the case after Hamelin discharged her previous counsel.

Sanderman said the sentence would likely have been higher if not for a guilty plea in February and a Gladue report presented to the court Wednesday.

Gladue reports explain an Indigenous person's history, their family's history and their community's history to the courts, so that the individual's unique circumstances and challenges can be taken into consideration.

"You have had a life that I would not want to wish on anyone," Sanderman told Hamelin.

Cynthia Hamelin was 49 when she was charged with first-degree murder in the death of Giuseppina Micieli. (Edmonton Police Service)

The report chronicled a history of abuse at the hands of family and while in foster care. It said Hamelin struggles with addictions.

Isshak said it should come as "no surprise" that she would end up where she did given her upbringing.

Hamelin's health issues, including bouts with pneumonia while in remand, were also brought up during proceedings as potential mitigating factors, although Sanderman said there was no firm report that could provide an evidentiary basis beyond past difficulties and treatments.

Hamelin will have six months taken off her 10-year sentence for time in custody. Last June, she was sentenced to four years for five break-and-enter thefts at other seniors' complexes. The manslaughter sentence is to be served consecutively.

In addition to imprisonment, Hamelin will have her DNA registered in a national databank, will be prohibited from possessing firearms for life once released, and cannot contact any members of Micieli's family.


Stephen Cook


Stephen Cook is a reporter with CBC Edmonton. He has covered stories on a wide range of topics with a focus on policy, politics, post-secondary education and labour. You can reach him via email at stephen.cook@cbc.ca.