Manitoba

Divas Boulanger killing: 2nd-degree murder sentencing set for June 23

Theodore Herntier's sentencing for the 2004 killing of Divas Boulanger, a transgender woman from Berens River, is set for June 23.

Theodore Herntier was found guilty in 2015 of killing transgender woman known as Divas B

Divas Boulanger, also known as Divas B, disappeared in the fall of 2004 and was found dead near Portage la Prairie in November of that year. ((CBC))

Divas Boulanger's family says they still don't know what happened leading up to the transgender woman's death in 2004. 

Theodore Herntier was found guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Boulanger, also known as Divas B, in 2015. Herntier's sentencing began on Thursday but the judge reserved his decision for June 23. 

Boulanger, 28, was formerly named David Joseph Boulanger and was originally from Berens River, a fly-in Aboriginal community on the east side of Lake Winnipeg, about 275 kilometres north of Winnipeg. The family still refers to her as a male.

"He's my brother and we still love him and no matter what, he's still family. He's human and he doesn't deserve what happened," Boulanger's sister Tammy said outside court.  

Boulanger's beaten body was found by a rest stop near Portage la Prairie, Man., in 2004. An autopsy revealed Boulanger died of blunt-force trauma.

RCMP charged Herntier in 2010. 

Tammy was in tears as she read her victim impact statement to the court. She said her children miss having Boulanger in their lives, adding her father is still unable to talk about Boulanger.

The Crown wants a man convicted of killing a Winnipeg transgender sex-trade worker to be sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 15 years. Theodore Herntier was convicted of second-degree murder last November in the death of Divas Boulanger, also known as Divas B. 1:12

Tammy's daughters, Hope and Heidi, were also in court and said they wished they'd had more time to make memories with Boulanger. 

"He was an uncle to me. He meant lots, even though I didn't get to know him. I wish I got to know him more," Hope said. 

"I remember he used to always tease me with my little brother," Heidi said. "He would like play around.… I miss him." 

They said they were disappointed the sentence did not come down Thursday.

"Twelve years trying to find out what really happened, we don't really know what happened," Hope said. 

Boulanger, who was a sex-trade worker, was last seen in the area of Sargent Avenue and Young Street in Winnipeg on Sept. 30, 2004, and was reported missing on Oct. 13, 2004.

Martin Glazer, Herntier's lawyer, asked for Gladue principals to be applied because Herntier is Métis, had no prior record and his mother battled alcoholism after suffering abuse at Pine Creek Residential School.

Gladue reports document the factors in an Aboriginal person's life that may have contributed to a criminal history. 

"He was marginalized and estranged from his culture," Glazer said.

With files from Meagan Fiddler