Jury finds Duran Redwood guilty of second degree murder
Duran Redwood, accused of second degree murder in relation to his girlfriend's death, leaves Court of Queen's Bench in Regina on January 16th, 2019.
Published Friday, February 1, 2019 11:37PM CST
Last Updated Saturday, February 2, 2019 12:16AM CST
It was an emotional night in a Regina court room on Friday, as the jury found Duran Redwood guilty of second degree murder in the death of his girlfriend, Celeste Yawney.
“This is the verdict we presented the evidence on, and we think it’s the right verdict that the jury came back with,” co-prosecutor for the Crown Lorely Berra said.
Redwood’s supporters cried out when the verdict was read, while a more quiet reaction was heard from Yawney’s family.
The jury spent Friday afternoon and evening deliberating before bringing forward their verdict just after 9 p.m. The jury’s verdict was unanimous.
Redwood was looking to be found guilty of manslaughter instead of second degree murder on the grounds that because of his intoxication at the time of the altercation with Yawney, he couldn’t have realized the consequences of what he was doing.
The Crown countered the defence Thursday in closing arguments, saying a drunken intent is still an intent, and described what Redwood did to Yawney that night in May 2015 as a “vicious beating”.
The guilty verdict for second degree murder carries an automatic life sentence.
Many members of Yawney’s family have travelled far for the proceedings, and hope others will educate themselves on the signs of domestic abuse.
“This was a cycle of abuse that ended in our sister’s murder,” Yawney’s sister Janine Pereira said. “We will always mourn Celeste, and we will always miss her. But we are grateful that we can move on from this part of it, from the trial.”
“Violence against spouses is an aggravating factor, it is a determination in sentence, so that will be a significant consideration, an aggravating factor will also be prior history,” Berra said.
“What can you do as an individual? Educate yourself,” Celeste's mother Carla Yawney, told reporters on the steps of Court of Queen’s Bench following the verdict. “Read about abuse. Watch for the signs. Do whatever you can to keep your loved ones safe. We weren’t able to, and it’s something we regret.”
After nearly three weeks of testimony and several hours of deliberations, court now stands adjourned until Thursday for sentencing submissions.