Court Sentences Alberta Teens Convicted of 5-Year-Old’s Manslaughter

Three Alberta teens who unreasonably fired bullets into a house, which resulted in the death of a five-year-old boy, were announced maximum jail sentences ranging from six to eighteen months on Friday. Additionally, the court ordered all of them to spend time in community under supervision, after being released from jail. Announcing the sentences in provincial court at Wetaskiwin, Judge Geoffrey Ho stated that the teens played “Russian roulette” with people’s lives in targeting the house in Hobbema, Alta., and their actions constituted “domestic terrorism.”

Five-year-old Ethan was sleeping in the house at the Samson Cree First Nation early on July 11, 2011, when the bullets were sprayed. He died at the scene due to a direct bullet hit. A joint agreed statement of facts revealed that the oldest of the three, who was 17 at the time, began using a rifle to fire at the house, and then later gave turns to other boys, then 16 and 13, each of whom fired two shots. All three teenage boys cannot be named in compliance to Youth Criminal Justice Act, but had pleaded guilty to manslaughter in November.

Crown prosecutor, Trent Wilson, requested court for maximum sentence. The court ordered the oldest to spend three years sentence, including two years as a community sentence and the last in open custody. The remaining two who fired two shots each have been ordered three year sentence too, although that includes closed and open custody for the first year and a half, followed by 18 months of community supervision.

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