Final submissions are expected Friday at the sentencing hearing for a teenager who shot and killed four people and injured seven others at a home and a high school in northern Saskatchewan.
The teen has pleaded guilty to two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of second-degree murder and seven counts of attempted murder in the January 2016 shooting in La Loche.
The hearing is to determine whether the teen is sentenced as an adult or a youth – he cannot be named because he was just shy of his 18th birthday when the shootings occurred.
The proceedings, which started in May, were delayed for the third time last month when the lead lawyer for the prosecution was named a provincial court judge.
Judge Janet McIvor has already said she will deliver the decision at a later date.
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The teen could get six years of custody and four years probation if he’s sentenced as a youth, but he faces a life sentence as an adult.
Some victims have already told court the teen should be sentenced as an adult because of the severity of his crimes.
An agreed statement of facts detailed the shooter’s murderous path from the home in La Loche to the community’s high school.
Court heard the teen first killed Dayne Fontaine, 17, and then his brother Drayden, who was 13. Dayne pleaded for his life before he was shot 11 times, including twice in the head. Drayden was shot twice.
The teen then drove to the high school, where surveillance footage captured his frightening walk through the halls, his shotgun raised, as students and staff ran in fear.
When police arrived, the shooter ran into a women’s washroom where he put his weapon down and gave himself up.
The teen said he didn’t know what he was thinking when he pulled the trigger.
In June, the teen apologized to those who died, those who were injured and their families.
A neuropsychologist testified for the defence the teen had an IQ of 68, which is considered well below average. A defence psychiatrist testified the teen had symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder, an intellectual disability and a major depressive disorder.
Court heard in August new information has since led those two defence witnesses to also conclude the teen has fetal alcohol syndrome.
The conclusions are based on the findings of what is known as a Gladue report, which examines an Indigenous offender’s background for the judge to use when determining a sentence. It can include information about abuse, developmental or health issues, such as fetal alcohol syndrome, or substance use.
The Crown has said it wants more time to ask those witnesses questions about their confirmation of the diagnosis. That cross examination is also scheduled to happen Friday morning before final submissions are made.
A child psychiatrist who testified for the Crown has already said the teen did not come across as being clearly developmentally delayed or slow.
(Jennifer Graham, The Canadian Press)