Man who killed Indigenous woman with trailer hitch in T’Bay, Ont. Gets 8 year old
By Colin Perkel
THE CANADIAN PRESS
TORONTO – A man who threw a trailer hitch at an Indigenous woman from a moving car in Thunder Bay, Ont., Was sentenced to eight years in prison Monday for what the judge described as a misogynist attack, thrill-seeking and unresponsive.
In convicting Brayden Bushby, 22, of manslaughter, the judge noted the deep grief inflicted on the family of Barbara Kentner, 34, as well as the anger of the indigenous peoples for whom such violence has become commonplace.
“You knew you were targeting women (and) in doing so, you played down women,” Superior Court judge Helen Pierce said. “Your actions are an affront to all women.
There was no evidence, however, that the attack was racially motivated, Pierce said.
Kentner and his sister were walking down a residential street in town late at night in January 2017. A drunk Bushby, who wanted to yell at “prostitutes,” got up from the window of the moving car and used both hands to lift the heavy passed the two unfortunate women.
“Yeah, I got one,” then 18-year-old Bushby told his friends, the court said. They did not try to help the victim.
Struck in the abdomen, Kentner, whose intestine was ruptured, died six months later.
Pierce cited several family and community victim statements about the void left by Kentner’s death and the fear caused by the attack.
“I recognize your anger and your grief,” Pierce said as he read his sentencing decision.
Now the father of a toddler, Bushby has pleaded guilty to aggravated assault. Pierce convicted him last year of manslaughter.
The prosecution had requested a sentence of up to 12 years, citing aggravating factors such as his misogyny and cruel indifference in the commission of the driving assault.
The defense had insisted for four years, arguing that Bushby was a remorseful, immature first offender acting out of character and who should not be punished for the sins of others towards Indigenous peoples.
Although eggs, bricks, trash and bottles are frequently thrown at Indigenous people in the northern Ontario town, Pierce said Bushby was unaware that Kentner of the Wabigoon Lake Ojibway First Nation was native. He attacked because she was a woman, treating the sisters as disposables, the judge said.
“He spotted women to target,” Pierce said. “He acted according to his plan.
Bushby did not face a hate crime charge, but Pierce felt it was important to understand the far-reaching effect of the deadly attack on the Indigenous community, who fear violence against their women has become ” normal ”.
“Our people are just not valued because of social constructs of race and gender,” one group said in its victim impact statement.
Bushby grew up in a financially stable family, but struggled with learning and never graduated from high school, the court said.
The defense argued that he had matured, faced threats on social media, and regretted his unprovoked action.
“I wish I could take it back and things were different,” Bushby said in a previous statement. “I will carry the guilt for the rest of my life. “
Pierce dismissed suggestions that Bushby was too drunk to know what he was doing. The charge had already been reduced to second degree murder due to his intoxication, she said.
“What you did, Mr. Bushby, was not courageous, it was not manly, it was not impressive; it hasn’t made our community a better place, ”
Pierce said. “You targeted a vulnerable woman on the street. You did it from the safety of a vehicle so you could just drive away. ”
She gave him credit for pleading guilty and for waiving a jury trial, which focused on whether the snag caused Kentner’s death.
The demoted charge has sparked an uproar that cases involving Indigenous victims are not being treated seriously.
Derek Fox, Deputy Grand Chief of the Nishnawbe Aski Nation, said it was heartening that Pierce recognized the powerful victim impact statements.
“This brutal and senseless attack demonstrates the racism and violence that Indigenous peoples continue to face, not only in Thunder Bay but across the country,” said Fox.
The judge granted Bushby, who had been on bail for four years without incident, one month credit for time spent in custody. Pierce allowed him to say goodbye to his family before being taken to jail.
Bushby must provide a DNA sample, is banned from having weapons for 10 years after his release, and has no communication with the Kentner family during his sentence.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published on June 7, 2021.
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