REGINA -- A judge has sentenced Adam Taniskishayinew to 11 years in prison for his part in the death of 30-year-old Denny Jimmy.

Taniskishayinew was originally on trial for second-degree murder, but pled guilty to manslaughter two-and-a-half days into the court proceedings. On Wednesday, the defence and crown presented a joint submission on sentencing, which judge Michael Tocher accepted.

The case dates back to June 11, 2019. Regina police were called to a single vehicle crash near 5th Avenue and Lindsay Street. Jimmy was found dead in the vehicle with a gunshot wound in his back 

During the trial, court heard two occupants had fled the scene of the crash. An RPS officer testified that Taniskishayinew’s fingerprint was found on the vehicle, and on a gun’s action discovered near the crime scene. Taniskishayinew was also seeing fleeing the scene, in security camera footage from a neighbour’s home.

But Crown prosecutor Bill Burge said what really happened inside the vehicle on June 11, 2019, was never revealed in court.

“There were a number of conclusions the court could reach. One of them was the accused put the gun to Denny Jimmy’s back,” said Burge, adding if the crown could prove that happened, he wouldn’t have agreed to Taniskishayinew’s manslaughter plea and the second-degree murder trial would have continued.

“There was no known motive for this. What we do know [is] we saw the accused on video, we saw the descriptions that the police officers gave, and he was certainly under the influence of something,” said Burge.

Court heard Taniskishayinew and Jimmy were found to be under the influence of methamphetamine. Defence lawyer Bruce Campbell said Taniskishayinew told him he had done 11 rounds of methamphetamine in the 14 days before the crash.

The crown said it was also likely Jason Bird, a man who was also in the vehicle, was under the influence.

“I’ve seen it a lot. Meth makes people do terrible things. It’s not the first homicide I’ve seen that has meth involvement,” Campbell said.

Jimmy’s older sister, Carrie O’Soup, read a victim impact statement to the court, which detailed how much she loved and misses her brother.

“His death was very difficult for our family to deal with,” O’Soup said. “My brother was far too young, and he didn’t deserve to be killed. It was cowardly and it has changed our family forever.”

O’Soup said her brother had a partner and a baby girl "who meant the world to him." She said she no longer holds any hate towards Taniskishayinew because it won’t change the situation or bring her brother back.

“It’s very ironic this is the very courtroom my brother received a 12-year sentence for the same conviction as Adam. This cycle has to stop,” said O’Soup. “As native people, we need to stop these violent crimes against one another. It’s hurting our families, loved ones and it’s tearing us apart.”

O’Soup said she will honour her brother’s memory by being a part of his daughter’s life, and "ensuring the cycle of violence is broken with her."

Taniskishayinew told the court he knows what he did was wrong, and plans to use the time in prison to "fix the things that are wrong with him."

“I’m sincerely sorry to the family of the victim. I can’t change anything, though I know I wish I could,” Taniskishayinew said. “I’m just going to have to man up and accept my sentencing.”

When accepting the joint submission, Tocher said he took into account Taniskishayinew’s background, criminal record, guilty plea, level of intoxication and expression of remorse.

“You’ve accepted responsibility and expressed a desire to make changes,” Tocher told Taniskishayinew.

With credit for time served, Taniskishayinew will spend another eight years and five-and-a-half months in prison. He also facing a lifetime firearms prohibition.