(Serena McKay, 19, of the Sagkeeng First Nation was beaten and left for dead in April 2017. A 16 and 17-year-old girl were each charged)
The Canadian Press
WINNIPEG – A teenager who helped beat a young Manitoba woman and shared the footage of her bloody death apologized to the victim’s family at a sentencing hearing Tuesday.
The older girl, who has since turned 18 but can’t be named because she was underage when the beating occurred, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December.
“There are no words to describe how sorry I am,” the girl told McKay’s family in a Winnipeg courtroom. “I am living every day with this guilt and shame … I want to do things in Serena’s honour.”
The Crown and defence are jointly recommending the girl receive the maximum youth sentence of seven years. The Crown wants the girl to spend four years behind bars and serve 1 1/2 years in the community.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky, who said his client has shown remorse, is asking for one year in jail with the rest of the sentence to be served in the community.
McKay had been at a house party in the Sagkeeng community when there was an argument about alcohol, court heard.
Two videos, which later circulated on social media, showed McKay being attacked.
McKay’s family members stood up and left before the videos were played in court. The woman being sentenced held her head in her hands and sobbed as the graphic footage showed McKay being punched and kicked while she begged for the beating to stop.
Crown prosecutor Jennifer Comack said the woman texted the videos to a friend first, along with a message boasting that she “stomped her” out. The videos were widely shared, Comack said.
McKay’s mother recalled the pain of seeing her daughter’s bloody, swollen face as it was circulated on social media.
“I dream about her,” Delores Daniels told court as she clutched an eagle feather and broke into tears. “I wake up crying and sad that she is not here and wonder what she would have become in life.
“This has been a nightmare to me … How can an only daughter be replaced?”
In a statement read in court, McKay’s father, Harvey McKay, said he was at work in northern Manitoba when he was horrified to discover people around him were watching videos of the beating.
“I will never get over what happened to my baby Serena,” his statement said.
Some 24 victim impact statements were submitted to the court from family and friends. There were more from people who didn’t know McKay, including two from people outside Canada.
Judge Rocky Pollack is to decide which can be included in the court record and how long the teen will be jailed. The sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday.
A year after a Sagkeeng First Nation teen was fatally beaten – a video of which was posted on social media – one of her killers’ sentencing hearing has begun.
Serena McKay, 19, was found dead on April 23, 2017, outside a residence in the community located 100 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg.
McKay, a grade 12 student who was set to graduate two months later had her life was cut short by two female schoolmates, aged 16 and 17 and the time. They attacked her outside a party, brutally beat her and left her to freeze to death.
The 17-year-old pleaded guilty to second-degree murder late last year. She is now 18 and has been in custody since the killing.
The girl, who cannot be named because of the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was seen on one of two videos shared online, delivering a series of vicious boot-stomps to the victim’s head after the younger teen already mercilessly beat McKay.
The two videos of the attack were played in court Tuesday while the shackled young woman in jail garb bent her head and sobbed, covering her eyes and ears.
The Crown is asking for a sentence of four years in addition to the year she’s been in custody, followed by 1.5 years living in a supervised community setting.
The maximum sentence for second-degree murder under the Youth Criminal Justice Act is seven years in custody.
More than 30 people submitted victim-impact statements detailing how McKay’s death has left them devastated, or how the video recording of the killing that made rounds on social media, affected them.
A judge will hand down a sentence on Thursday.
The 16-year-old involved in McKay’s death pleaded guilty to manslaughter earlier this year.
A date has not been set for her sentencing.