Manitoba

Pair sentenced to 9 years in beating death of Tina Fontaine's dad

A Manitoba judge has sentenced two men to nine years behind bars each for manslaughter in the beating death of Eugene Fontaine, the father of Tina Fontaine.

Eugene Fontaine, 41, was found behind garden shed in Sagkeeng First Nation in 2011

A Manitoba judge has sentenced two men to nine years behind bars each for manslaughter in the beating death of Eugene Fontaine, the father of Tina Fontaine. 1:33

A Manitoba judge has sentenced two men to nine years behind bars each for manslaughter in the beating death of Eugene Fontaine, the father of Tina Fontaine.

Jonathan Starr and Nicholas Abraham had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of Fontaine, 41, who was found behind a garden shed in the Sagkeeng First Nation, northeast of Winnipeg, on Oct. 31, 2011.
Eugene Fontaine, 41, was found beaten to death behind a garden shed in the Sagkeeng First Nation on Oct. 31, 2011. (Family photo)

Peter Haluik, who grew up with Fontaine, thought the sentence was too lenient.

"This is pretty much what the Crown was asking," said Haluik. "I just feel when you murder, when you kill somebody, you should get more time than 10 years."

"He's also a repeat known offender," Haluik said, referring to one of the two men found guilty. "We're just giving him a chance to do it over."

Fontaine's sister Robin said Eugene's death hit his 15 year-old daughter hard.

Tina Fontaine had been struggling to write a victim impact statement when she disappeared.

"It's not going to bring Tina back, it's not going to bring him back. It's gonna be lonely," said Robin.

Thelma Favel, Tina's great-aunt, told CBC News in August she had tried to get counselling for her great-niece from various Child and Family Services agencies, but was turned away.

With time already served, the men will have to serve another four years and three months, the CBC's Caroline Barghout reported from the Winnipeg courthouse.

A wreath and cross mark the final resting place for 15-year-old Tina Fontaine and her father, Eugene. (CBC)
​At a sentencing hearing in October, court was told that Abraham, Starr and Eugene Fontaine were on a three-day bender when Starr and Fontaine got into a fight over money.

Fontaine was stomped on the head, tied up and put in a shed, where he died of a head injury, court was told.

The Crown had asked for a 10-year sentence for each of the accused.

At the October hearing, members of Fontaine's family said they believe the death of Eugene Fontaine played a role in the death of his 15-year-old daughter, Tina, whose body was found in the Red River in August.

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.