Seven years for brutal Bloodvein murder

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A teen who fatally stabbed a 52-year-old Bloodvein First Nation man in his home has been handed the maximum youth sentence for second-degree murder.

The teen, who can’t be identified, was 17 when he and two other boys – a 17-year-old and a 15-year-old, stabbed Cliff Malnyk to death in his home, then set the house on fire in February 2014. Malnyk was stabbed with a knife and a table leg. He died from a combination of blood loss and smoke inhalation.

 

The accused, who stabbed Malnyk several times with a knife, received a seven-year sentence with no credit for the 2.5 years he’s been in custody since his arrest. He’ll spend the next four years in secure custody, with the remaining three years of his sentence to be served under conditional supervision in the community.

While Crown attorney Brian Sharpe and defence lawyer Bill Armstrong agreed the teen should serve the maximum seven-year sentence, Armstrong argued his client should be given some credit for the time he’s already served.

But the fairest thing to do, Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Chris Martin decided, would be to let the teen access more counselling and treatment programs – by keeping him locked up for as long as the law allows.

“I have no doubt that you can change,” the judge told the teen.

“But I have equally no doubt that you need as much help and opportunity that the law allows me to impose,” he said, describing the teen as “a very damaged young man.”

The three teens were trying to get revenge on Malnyk, court previously heard, because they believed he ordered someone to smash the window at a house party they attended. They planned to rob him, stealing cash and alcohol the father of four was believed to have been bootlegging in the community of about 1,000 people about 200 kilometres north of Winnipeg.

Court heard this accused already had a violent criminal record and had been running afoul of the law since he was a pre-teen, having joined the Native Syndicate gang when he was around 12. He was removed from his mother’s care when he was two and sent to 10 different foster placements over the years.

“Nobody could deny the fact that you’ve had an absolutely horrible upbringing,” the judge said, adding acting out is “regrettably not unusual” for many youth with similar backgrounds.

Before sentencing, the teen told the judge he wished he’d been held in youth custody at a younger age because he believed it was a good influence on him. He said he’s left the gang and is trying to stay away from gang members, but “they were there for me when no one else was.”

The Crown had planned to ask for all three teens to be sentenced as adults, but abandoned that plan in exchange for a plea deal that saw the trio plead guilty to second-degree murder. The 15-year-old co-accused received a six-year sentence with 3.5 years to be served in secure custody and the other 17-year-old received seven years, with three years to be served behind bars.

katie.may@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @thatkatiemay

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