Teen girl who tried to rob man before he was stabbed to death sentenced to jail time

An 18-year-old girl was given a 15-month sentence after she pleaded guilty to robbery in connection with the death of a man who staggered into a Stoney Creek Mountain gas station covered in blood around 2:30 a.m. one morning last April.

'I have no life anymore,' says mother of 32-year-old man killed

An effort by three teen girls to steal a man's car escalated, and one stabbed him with a knife in a field near a gas station on the Stoney Creek Mountain. (Google)

An 18-year-old girl was given a 15-month sentence after she pleaded guilty to robbery in connection with the fatal stabbing  of a man in a Stoney Creek mountain field last April.

She was among three teenage girls who worked in the sex trade who drove with Mississauga man Hayder Qasim-Rushdi to Hamilton and planned to steal his Jaguar.

The effort to steal the car escalated and one stabbed him with a knife in a field near a gas station. Qasim-Rushdi staggered into a Stoney Creek Mountain gas station covered in blood around 2:30 a.m. The 32-year-old victim  died two days later in hospital.

One girl pleaded guilty to manslaughter and the other two to robbery in December.

The sentencing for one of the latter two was Friday in Hamilton court. None of the defendants can be identified publicly under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

Victim's mom devastated

In a statement read by assistant Crown attorney Cheryl Gzik, the mother of the late Qasim-Rushdi said she was devastated by the loss of her son.

She has cancer, and her son lived with her and took care of her, she said.

"I have no life anymore," the victim's mother, Sanaa Kadim, said in the statement. "I am waiting to die every day to see him again."

I am waiting to die every day to see him again.- Sanaa   Kadim , mother of Hayder   Qasim-Rushdi

The incident started when the girls had an argument with someone who had paid for a motel room for them in Mississauga, according to an agreed statement of facts read in court.

They were "evicted" from the hotel room.

One of the girls, not the one sentenced Friday, knew Qasim-Rushdi, whom she had met through her advertisements on Backpage.com. He had made it known that he would provide transportation for escorts in exchange for gas money and on the condition that the escort sit naked in the passenger seat.

The girls drove with the victim to Hamilton. One of them, but not the one sentenced Friday, sat naked in the passenger seat while the others were clothed in the backseat.

When they got to a rural location, one pulled out a knife and held it to the victim's neck, telling him they were going to rob him.

The other girls got the keys but the victim was able to recover the keys and get back into the car.

Knife pulled 

One of the other girls laid across his lap, trying to retrieve the keys again. At some point, the girl sentenced Friday passed the knife to another girl, who stabbed him in the neck. The girls threw the man's phone into the field.

The girl sentenced Friday paid for a taxi to take them from the scene to a house in Hamilton. She was arrested a few days later and has been in custody since the beginning of last May.

The killing of this victim was senseless and stupid and callous.- Stephen Glithero

"The killing of this victim was senseless and stupid and callous," said the judge, Stephen Glithero.

But he reminded himself aloud that the girl in front of him Friday was there on a plea of guilt to robbery, not a crime directly tied to the killing.

He took into account reports of the girl's rocky childhood, the fact this was her first offence and her guilty plea.

As Glithero read the sentence, the girl silently wiped away tears.

Defence attorneys Lauren Wilhelm and Kaley Hepburn had asked the judge for a sentence of probation on top of the time already served for the girl.

"What happened on April 28 was a tragedy," Wilhelm said. She said any arguing over her client's sentence did not negate the acknowledgement that "the death was needless."

The crown sought a two-year sentence plus a two-year probation.

Wilhelm emphasized that her client had pleaded guilty to robbery, not to the actions that killed Qasim-Rushdi. She said the "death was neither caused, intended nor foreseen by" her client.

Hepburn pointed to an unstable childhood for the girl, who was physically and sexually abused and placed in the care of children's aid as a younger teen. While in custody, she has completed more high school credits and been seeing a counselor.

"She is very remorseful for her actions," Hepburn said.

Wilhelm said she hopes her client can "move forward as an adult who is not going to find herself in front of a court again."

Defendant apologizes

Before her sentence, the girl, dressed in a black-t-shirt and black pants, rose in the prisoner's box and read a prepared statement Friday afternoon.

She apologized for her role in what happened.

"I'm sorry for my actions," she said. "I have been working on bettering myself and focusing on a better lifestyle."

She told the judge she would work to avoid being back before the court again in her life.

"You know who can control that, don't you?" he asked.

"Yes," she said.

Because the girl has been in custody for nine-and-a-half months already, the remainder of the sentence will be a total of five-and-a-half months. That will be split up as two-thirds in custody and one-third under supervision in the community, with two years of probation to follow.

Sentencing for the other girl who pleaded guilty to robbery is scheduled for March 28, while sentencing for the girl who pleaded guilty to manslaughter is scheduled for April 13.

About the Author

Kelly Bennett

Reporter, CBC Hamilton

Kelly Bennett is an award-winning reporter who lives in Hamilton. She grew up in Victoria and covered economics and arts as an investigative reporter in San Diego. She loves digging into great stories, hiking and playing the violin. Drop her a line anytime at kelly.bennett@cbc.ca.