Kelowna teen's killer serves one day in custody | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Kelowna teen's killer serves one day in custody

Elijah-Iain Beauregard with B.C. musician Merkules.
Image Credit: FACEBOOK/Merkules
July 19, 2021 - 2:30 PM

The teen who fatally stabbed Elijah Beauregard in a Kelowna alley two years ago served one day in custody.

In a decision published online today, July 19, Justice Gregory Korturbash said the young woman whose name is protected under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, served that day by her presence in court July 12 for sentencing. She will be under an Intensive Rehabilitative Custody and Supervision Order for 24 months.

“However, if you breach any of the conditions of the order, you can be arrested and required to serve the remainder of your sentence in custody,” Korturbash told her that day.

Korturbash said this has been the most challenging decision he has ever had to make as a judge.

“Over the past month I have agonized over what the appropriate sentence should be,” he said.

“As a parent, the thought of losing a child to such a senseless act is unimaginable. (Beauregard) had an entire future ahead of him. He was only 16 years old. His parents, grandparents and friends were also robbed of their future with him.”

Korturbash said unlike most others, the then 17-year-old was not well-equipped to deal with and control her angry impulses that day.

Since then, Korturbash said, times have changed.

“You have made significant efforts to turn your life around: you have left the streets; you have dissociated yourself from poor peer influences; you have quit using drugs and alcohol, and you have become a productive member of society by getting a job,” he said.

“Both the psychiatrist and psychologist say that it would be counterproductive to send you to jail at this stage. They argue that incarcerating you would disrupt the positive shift and your ability to actively expand and promote your community supports and skills. In other words, all the traction and progress you have made so far would potentially be for (naught).”

The fact she is a young woman also contributed to the decision.

“I accept that if I do incarcerate you, because of the low number of female inmates at the Youth Detention Centre, the centre will be able to minimize your contact with anti-social personalities; however, as pointed out, this, in turn, will result in longer periods of isolation for you,” he said. “These are not good options and a reason why Parliament makes it difficult for judges to impose jail sentences for young people.”

Ultimately, he said, the sentence chosen recognizes the seriousness of the offence while acknowledging and promoting the significant strides in rehabilitation the girl made with the help of her family and youth court services.

“Imposing a custodial sentence would likely have a serious negative effect on your progress and would not serve the genuine societal interest,” he said.

“We have already lost one young person and we, meaning all of us, need to do what we can to not lose another.”

The teen, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter, was diagnosed with several mental-health issues. They included attention hyperactivity disorder, social anxiety disorder, borderline personality disorder, persistent depressive disorder, oppositional defiant disorder, severe alcohol-use disorder, Cannabis-use disorder, parent-child relational problem and Attachment injury.

She had a rough upbringing and has been characterized as aggressive when drinking.

A doctor told the court she may have inherited these addictive, antisocial and aggressive genes from her biological father, who is currently serving a federal sentence.

Certainly, her behaviour in June 2019, indicates she was struggling.

According to the court decision both she and both she and Beauregard were entrenched street youths living in Kelowna, struggling with alcohol- and substance-use issues. They knew each other and despite some issues in the past, were friends.

At 11:23 p.m. on June 27, 2019, police and ambulance received a call about a stabbing that occurred in an alleyway in downtown Kelowna and Beauregard was located at the scene.

“He had two stab wounds to his right arm. One of the wounds, which was less than a centimetre, lacerated an artery, causing significant blood loss and eventually his death,” reads the decision.

A witness told police that the teen and Beauregard were yelling and swearing at each other. He said that she was intoxicated and was accusing Beauregard of assaulting her. Beauregard denied doing so.

“During the verbal altercation, (she) pulled out a knife and told everyone that they were safe and then stabbed the deceased twice in the arm. After stabbing him, (she) said, ‘That’s what happens. You deserved it. Good’,”  the witness said.

Another witness asked the teen in the immediate aftermath of the stabbing what happened and she told them, “he’s never been stabbed before so I stabbed him twice." He asked where she stabbed him and she replied on the arm.

Bearegard’s father, Robyn, took to social media in the immediate aftermath of the decision to state his dissatisfaction, noting that it was a sad day to be a Canadian.

In an earlier interview, he said he hadn’t expected much of the sentencing, anyway, because his son's killer was tried as a youth not as an adult, and for manslaughter not murder. Manslaughter is “a homicide committed without the intention to cause death, although there may have been an intention to cause harm."

Regardless, he said, he was trying to move on.

“I can’t stew... can’t be angry about Kelowna having a tent city with children in it, or that someone with drug and mental health problems was not taken off the street,” he said.

He said then he wanted to remind people that they should hold their children tight at those times when it seems its hardest.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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