Teen gets adult sentence for killing Regina man over red shirt
Published Monday, September 9, 2013 10:24AM CST Last Updated Monday, September 9, 2013 5:34PM CST
Brendon Keewatin is seen in this image captured from Facebook.
A teenager who stabbed a Regina man to death for unwittingly wearing the wrong gang colours in his neighbourhood has received a seven-year adult sentence.
Justice Ellen Gunn imposed the sentence on 17-year-old Brendon Keewatin after accepting a joint submission from Crown and defence lawyers Monday.
“The senselessness of this crime cannot be overemphasized,” Gunn said. “His actions are deserving of significant punishment.”
With credit for time served, Keewatin will spend five years and 10 months behind bars.
Keewatin was originally charged with second-degree murder in the July 2012 death of 31-year-old Derrick Amyotte, but pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
Amyotte was walking along Fifth Avenue near Rae Street when he was confronted by Keewatin, who was 16 at the time.
The Crown says Keewatin, who was a member of the Native Syndicate gang, took issue with the colour of Amyotte’s shirt.
Court heard Keewatin told Amyotte “you shouldn’t be wearing red in my neighbourhood.”
When Amyotte replied “it’s my choice to wear what I want,” the accused said “prove it” and a fight erupted.
Amyotte suffered seven stab wounds to his chest and back, one of which penetrated his heart. He was taken to hospital, where he later died.
In victim impact statements, members of Amyotte’s family described him as an “incredible” man and a loving father to his three young children. Relatives said he wasn’t a troublemaker, and his favourite colour was pink.
Keewatin’s lawyer, Noah Evanchuk, said his client was born into poverty and grew up without the love and support of a family.
“(He) found himself in a situation where gang life was the only place where he felt he could receive belonging and peer support and friendship,” Evanchuk told reporters outside the courthouse.
“The end result of this was a senseless death, and my client is very remorseful for his actions...and very remorseful for what the Amyotte family is now having to go through.”
Evanchuk added that the “very tragic case” exposes the social problem of gangs in Regina.
Crown prosecutor Erin Schroh said gang activity is a widespread problem, not just in Regina’s North Central neighbourhood, but across the city and the province. She agreed that it was a prevalent issue in this case.