Frank Elanik Jr. sentenced to 6 years in prison for manslaughter

Frank Elanik Jr. has been sentenced to six years for killing his partner May Elanik in Aklavik in 2015.

Warning: This story contains disturbing details

Frank Elanik Jr. leaves court in Aklavik Tuesday. Elanik Jr. was sentenced to six years in jail for manslaughter in the death of his partner, May Elanik. (Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi/CBC)

Frank Elanik Jr. has been sentenced to six years for killing his partner May Elanik in Aklavik, N.W.T., in 2015.

Elanik Jr. was sentenced Tuesday afternoon in an Aklavik courtroom. With credit for time served, there are 28 months left on his sentence.

During his sentencing hearing, Elanik stood up and apologized to May's family, his own family, and to the community. 

He had originally been charged with second-degree murder in the case, but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter in June.

Elanik Jr. has been convicted three times for assaulting his partner, including a guilty plea in January 2016 for an incident that happened before May Elanik's death.

Details of case laid out

An agreed statement of facts presented during the hearing laid out details of what happened on Nov. 11, 2015, the morning May Elanik was attacked.

The couple was drinking at a party on the evening of Nov. 10, going to another party sometime in the early morning. May Elanik called a friend while out, saying that she was afraid her husband was going to hurt her.

The pair left the party sometime after 6 a.m. At some point, they began to argue, and Elanik Jr. struck May Elanik in the head multiple times, until she was unconscious and bleeding in the middle of a street.

Elanik Jr. then dragged May Elanik by her feet to a snowmobile trail and left her there.

Her jacket and shirt had been pulled above her stomach. It was dark, and minus 15 degrees, according to the statement of facts.

She later died in an Edmonton hospital of severe blunt trauma to the head.

May Elanik suffered multiple injuries, including the complete fracture of her right jaw, a fracture of her left temporal bone — the base of the skull — along with extensive bleeding and bruising on her brain, according to the statement of facts.

11 victim impact statements

Her family members filed 11 victim impact statements with the court. Two expressed concern that Elanik Jr. could do this again to another woman, or even one of their children.

The Crown and defence both said that Elanik Jr. has sought counselling after his arrest, attending both Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings while in custody.

In her sentencing, Justice Shannon Smallwood spoke about the prevalence of domestic abuse in the Northwest Territories.

"Unfortunately the situation is not getting better," she said, adding that these cases often involve the abuse of alcohol.

Smallwood pointed to a report from 2017 that found the territory had the highest rate of family violence in Canada.

She said this would not change until communities changed and stopped accepting alcohol and spousal abuse as normal.

With files from Gabriela Panza-Beltrandi