Judge delivers over-the-phone sentence of 18 months for accessory to manslaughter
Sentence for Wendy Losier of Moncton includes credit for time already served in jail.
A Moncton woman has been sentenced to 18 months in jail after admitting to accessory to manslaughter and interfering with the remains of Candace Rose Stevens.
Justice Terrence Morrison handed down his sentence in an unusually brief sentencing hearing Wednesday afternoon.
Wendy Gail Losier, her lawyer, the Crown prosecutor, a member of the police force and Stevens's foster mother all listened to the judgment by phone. Most day-to-day operations at New Brunswick's courthouses have been halted or modified to be remote because of concerns of the spread of COVID-19.
Over the five-minute hearing, Morrison said because of these "exceptional circumstances" he will deliver a "much abbreviated ruling."
Losier, 42, admitted to aiding and comforting James Curtis, also known as James Knight, after he shot Stevens to death. For that crime, Morrison said he's sentencing Losier to 18 months in prison.
The court previously heard Curtis died after he fired shots into a Miramichi Walmart he was intending to rob a few days after he killed Stevens.
Losier previously said she was with Curtis the night he died. She was in the passenger seat when Curtis shot himself after the police caught up to them, the court previously heard.
Losier also pleaded guilty to interfering with human remains, since she helped Curtis dispose of Stevens's body. For that crime, Morrison also sentenced her to 18 months.
Morrison said these two sentences are to be served concurrently. He also added a 1.5-days credit for every day she spent in custody before sentencing. Losier was arrested in late October 2019. The credit adds up to around seven months.
Morrison said with respect to accessory to manslaughter, Losier's involvement "is on the lower end of the spectrum." She was upstairs smoking drugs when Curtis killed Stevens, according to the agreed statement of facts.
However, Morrison said she had "ample opportunity to disassociate herself," from Curtis over the days that followed the killing.
Losier will also be on probation for 18 months after her release.
He said the indignity to Stevens's remains caused "loved ones additional grief."
Morrison said because of Losier's lack of a criminal record, her positive employment history and her efforts at sobriety, "I believe there is reason for optimism with respect to her prospects for rehabilitation."
Morrison said sentencing decisions are among the most difficult decisions judges are required to make.
"Invariably there will be those who consider the sentence either too lenient or too harsh."