Boyfriend gets life in prison for killing Tessa Perry

Judge cites murder of Indigenous woman as aggravating factor

Friends hold posters of Tessa Perry after her boyfriend was sentenced to life in prison. Photo: Kathleen Martens/APTN News

A woman killed in Winnipeg by her on-again, off-again boyfriend was remembered Thursday as a loving mother, daughter and granddaughter.

Tessa Perry, 31, died May 28, 2022 following a vicious attack witnessed by some of her children.

Her family spoke to reporters outside the Winnipeg Law Courts after Justin Alfred Robinson was sentenced to life in prison.

Robinson, now 31, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder for repeatedly striking Perry with a frying pan and stabbing her multiple times with a paring knife. Court heard he also hit her 15 to 20 times using a wooden table leg with a screw sticking out of it.

“No amount of years that he is given can take away the amount of years that we will not have Tessa in our lives,” said her aunt, Hilda Anderson-Pyrz, a prominent advocate for Indigenous women and girls.

“So I feel there’s always injustice in the justice system when it comes to sentencing perpetrators who cruelly and violently kill our Indigenous women.”

Tessa Perry in a family photo with her four children. Photo: Submitted

Perry had four children – one with Robinson – and loved them fiercely, said her grandmother Muriel Perry.

“She was a beautiful girl – a comedian – always happy, laughing and such a good mother.”

Court of King’s Bench Justice Shawn Greenberg noted this was the murder of an Indigenous woman in sentencing Robinson, who court heard “became enraged” at Perry for some “unknown reason.”

Police say it was a case of domestic assault.

Two of Perry’s children were present as Robinson, who is Indigenous, beat and stabbed their mother, court was told, before he took them upstairs and returned to resume the deadly attack.

Perry used the opportunity to flee the home but Robinson caught up to her on the front lawn and continued to assault her.

Critical condition

Perry was taken to hospital in critical condition where she later died.

The children attended court for the guilty plea in March, but her aunt said they were too upset to return.

“Each time they come to the city it’s re-living the trauma that they’ve experienced,” said Anderson-Pyrz said of the killing that took place in the couple’s Maples-area home.

Robinson’s conviction comes with an automatic life sentence and Greenberg set parole eligibility at 16 years.

Robinson was on probation at the time of the killing, court heard.

“Is 16 years enough? Absolutely not,” added Anderson-Pyrz. “Tessa’s children have to grow up without their mother, and her family has to (live) without their mother, their daughter, their aunt, their niece and their cousin.”

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