Manitoba

Men sentenced to 7 and 5 years for killing firefighter in downtown attack

The two men who killed firefighter and father of four Cyril Weenusk in July 2016 have been sentenced to seven and five years, including time served.

Cyril Weenusk was beaten, stabbed in downtown Winnipeg in 2016

Cyril Weenusk, 26, was beaten to death in Winnipeg on July 5. He was a father of four from Oxford House, Man., and worked as a firefighter. (Family photo)

The two men who killed firefighter and father of four Cyril Weenusk in July 2016 have been sentenced to seven and five years, including time served.

Weenusk's family members cried as they left the Winnipeg after Justice Candace Grammond delivered her decision Friday morning. One person yelled "Bullshit!" while another held her face and wailed. 

Geordie Wood, 24, and Renelle McDougal, 23, both pleaded guilty in June to manslaughter in the 2016 death of Weenusk, 26.

"You both have a long life ahead of you and you need to do better," Grammond said in her address to the two men. 

Wood's sentence means he gets three years on top of the time he served since the killing.

McDougal will serve two years less one day on top of the time he has already spent in jail since his arrest in August 2016. He must also complete three years of supervised probation. 

Weenusk followed, engaged with attackers 

Weenusk, from Bunibonibee Cree Nation in Oxford House, Man., was in Winnipeg to accompany his ill father to chemotherapy and dialysis appointments.

Grammond said Weenusk's death affected the whole community. 

"A community impact statement was filed reflecting the significant loss by the Bonibonibee Cree Nation. Members of the community experienced shock after Mr. Weenusk's death and an increased fear of travelling to large centres for medical appointments," she said. 

Wood and McDougal first encountered Weenusk in a downtown parking lot where he was drinking in the early morning hours of July 5, 2016.  

Cyril Quentin Weenusk's sons, left, hold a picture of their father at a vigil for the 26-year-old in 2016. (Pierre Verriere/CBC)

After a brief verbal altercation, Weenusk followed the men and confronted them about half an hour later, the court heard Friday. Wood and Weenusk got into a fist fight and Weenusk ran away down a back lane, Grammond said.

The two men caught up with him and beat him to the ground, using their fists and feet.   

Wood stabbed Weenusk in the chest and neck with a pair of scissors, Grammond said. Weenusk was found in distress near Portage Avenue and Donald Street and later died.

Wood and McDougal were originally charged with second-degree murder, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in June 2018 as part of a plea deal.

Gladue report affected sentences 

Grammond drew on the conclusions of a Gladue report, which considered both men's Indigenous backgrounds, in her sentencing decision.

The men are from Wasagamack and St. Theresa Point First Nation. Both had grandparents who attended residential schools. 

Wood and McDougal suffered losses and trauma at early ages — Wood witnessed his father's suicide attempt and McDougal's brother was murdered.

Both began abusing drugs and alcohol starting around age 12. Neither man completed high school

The Crown asked for 10 years in prison for Wood and nine for McDougal. The defence sought seven years for Wood and two years for McDougal, followed by three years of probation. 

Wood has two prior convictions for assault and is considered at a high risk to reoffend. This was McDougal's first offence. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Laura Glowacki is a reporter based in Ottawa. Previously, she worked as a reporter in Winnipeg and as an associate producer for CBC's Metro Morning in Toronto. Find her on Twitter @glowackiCBC and reach her by email at laura.glowacki@cbc.ca.

with files from Ian Froese

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