Woman gets life for Alberta teen's murder
Last Updated: Tuesday, January 26, 2010 | 3:32 PM MT
Nina Courtepatte's bruised and bloody body was found on an Edmonton golf course in April 2005. (CBC) A young Edmonton woman who was convicted of first-degree murder in the slaying of 13-year-old Nina Courtepatte was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison, with no chance of parole for 10 years.
Stephanie Bird, 22, had originally been convicted of manslaughter in the April 2005 slaying of Courtepatte and sentenced to 12 years in prison.
In a 9-0 decision last month, the Supreme Court of Canada upgraded that conviction to first-degree murder after ruling the evidence at trial could not support a defence of "abandonment" and that "no other defence arises on the facts."
Under her original 12-year sentence, Bird would have been eligible for day parole in August. But her lawyer, Colleen Connolly, told reporters outside the courthouse that Bird is resigned to serving more time in prison.
"She wasn't moaning and begroaning the amount of time that she would have to stay in an institution before she could get parole," Connolly said.
Stephanie Bird, seen here in a 2008 courtroom sketch, was sentenced Tuesday to life in prison with parole eligibility in 10 years. (CBC)"What she was talking about is how guilty she feels, and how she doesn't know how she's ever going to forgive herself for what she did here, and how she helped these people and what they did."
First-degree murder convictions normally carry an automatic 25-year life sentence with no parole eligibility. But since Bird was a young offender who was later sentenced as an adult, she was eligible for a life sentence with no chance of parole for at least 10 years.
Lured to golf course
Bird was a member of a group that who lured Courtepatte and her friend from the West Edmonton Mall on the pretense they were going to a party.
They were taken to a golf course, where Bird hit Courtepatte with a wrench. Courtepatte was then held down and sexually assaulted.
Although Bird held down Courtepatte for a brief time, she returned to the car before Courtepatte was beaten to death.
The Crown had charged Bird with first-degree murder, but Bird's lawyers used the defence of “abandonment,” claiming their client had a change of heart in the killing.
The trial judge agreed and found Bird guilty of the lesser charge of manslaughter. Alberta's Court of Appeal upheld that ruling.
CBC News - Edmonton - Woman gets life for Alberta teen's murder
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