Youth of Coronation manslaughter case sentenced

A youth initially charged with manslaughter in connection to the death of an 18-year-old male has been sentenced to 21 months under Alberta Provincial Court ruling.

On Tuesday, June 19, in Red Deer Provincial Court, the youth was sentenced to nine months in custody; six months in open custody and three months under supervision. Probation will follow for an additional 12 months.

He is subject to certain conditions under his probation officer including a two-year usage ban on any type of potential firearm. He must also participate in counseling, provide a DNA sample, maintain zero contact with the victims family and must not consume unsolicited drugs or alcohol.

“It’s hard to imagine more tragic circumstances than this case,” said Judge J. A. Glass during his final comments.

The 17-year-old, who cannot be identified in accordance with the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was charged initially with manslaughter before it being turned into a charge of criminal negligence with the use of a firearm.

On October 14, 2017, Coronation RCMP responded to a call of a male that was taken to hospital, sustaining injuries from a gunshot wound to the head.

STARS flew the 18-year-old victim, Jeffrey Smith, to Edmonton’s University of Alberta Hospital where he ultimately succumbed to his injuries on Monday, October 18. The family made the decision to take him off of life support.

Families of both the victim and accused were present during the final sentencing.

Eight victim impact statements were received from family and close friends of the deceased. Mentions of physical, emotional, psychological, and financial troubles were brought to light after the incident.

Most notable was Jeffrey’s grandfather who suffered from a stroke not even 24 hours after the victim was taken off of life support.

Kristine Smith, Jeffrey’s mother, spoke of these problems and the intimate feelings associated with her son’s passing.

“Your actions resulted in a death sentence for my son,” she said. “Part of me died that day with Jeffrey.”

She also spoke of his ‘soft-hearted, gentle, kind’ spirit. Smith’s Facebook page dedicated to her son called Jeffrey’s Journey has accumulated 1,117 likes and depicts the struggles the family is going through as well as cultivating a support network from the community.

“A huge piece of our puzzle is missing,” continued Smith through teary eyes. “You can honour Jeffrey’s life by doing better. Sorry isn’t enough.”

In three days time, the sentenced youth will become 18 years of age.

 

Terri Huxley
ECA Review

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