Manitoba

Youth convicted in Charleswood homicide to serve sentence in community

A youth convicted in the 2015 homicide of a Winnipeg woman will serve the remaining sentence in the community, and he won't be able to use marijuana, after an argument over the drug played a "central" role in the killing, a Crown prosecutor says.

Kathleen Leary, 66, was fatally attacked inside Winnipeg home in 2015 by youth known to her

Kathleen Leary was found dead inside her Charleswood home in May 2015. (Facebook)

A youth convicted in the 2015 homicide of a Winnipeg woman will serve the remaining sentence in the community, and he won't be able to use marijuana. An argument over the drug played a "central" role in the killing, a Crown prosecutor says.

Kathleen Leary, 66, was fatally attacked inside her home on Cheltenham Cove in Charleswood on May 19, 2015. Officers found the grandmother, originally of Norway House Cree Nation, suffering from upper body injuries. She later died.

A youth, known to Leary and police, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, but those charges were upgraded to murder in the first degree in December 2015. ​

Months earlier the accused's bail request was denied at a hearing where court heard three weapons were used in the killing.

He was convicted of second-degree murder in Leary's death and sentenced to three years.

The accused, who is now 20, can't be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.

At a Wednesday morning sentencing hearing in Winnipeg, defence attorney Greg Brodsky said his client has undergone First Nations counselling with elders and other family since the arrest.

Crown prosecutor Susan Baragar said probation records suggest the youth has made positive strides over the past few years, and Manitoba Court of Queen's Bench Justice Brenda ​Keyser agreed.

She ordered the accused to serve the remaining two years of his three-year sentence while living at home with his mother in Winnipeg.

You're very lucky that you have the supportive family that you do have and I hope you appreciate the path that they are trying to keep you on as well.- Justice Brenda Keyser

Among other conditions, he is not allowed to leave the province or move addresses without approval, Keyser said, and he is also expected to hold down a job or attend school full-time as part of the probation.

He isn't allowed to own any weapons and has been ordered to abstain from alcohol and marijuana, the latter of which "was central to the argument that actually led to the homicide," according to Baragar.

Brodsky said though his client never used marijuana to excess, it was the source of a disagreement with Leary that happened right before she was killed. 

He said his client is eager to get an education and is "very anxious to be successful."

The 20-year-old "thought going to school was more important than marijuana," Brodsky told CBC News, referring to his client agreeing to abstain from marijuana.

Asked whether his client suffered from mental health issues, Brodsky said no.

Leary had a long history of involvement with University College of the North and was passionate about the role it played in the lives of people in northern Manitoba, UCN's president told CBC News in 2015.

The accused has been ordered to continue counselling and will have a curfew for at least three months. If he does well, Justice Keyser said, the curfew conditions may be relaxed.

"I wish you nothing but the best," Justice Keyser told the man. "You're very lucky that you have the supportive family that you do have and I hope you appreciate the path that they are trying to keep you on as well."

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Bryce Hoye

Reporter

Bryce Hoye is an award-winning journalist and science writer with a background in wildlife biology and interests in courts, climate, health and more. He has produced episodes for CBC's Quirks & Quarks and Front Burner. He is the Prairie rep for OutCBC. Story idea? Email bryce.hoye@cbc.ca.

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