Whitehorse Daily Star

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Brandy Vittrekwa

Court reviews conditions of youth’s release

The youth convicted for the death of 17-year-old Brandy Vittrekwa is set to be released next month.

By Whitehorse Star on May 14, 2018

The youth convicted for the death of 17-year-old Brandy Vittrekwa is set to be released next month.

The youth’s name cannot be published under federal law.

The youth had pleaded guilty to manslaughter and was sentenced in 2016 for the December 2014 crime.

The sentence included spending two years in a youth facility outside of the Yukon, as well as one year in community supervision in Whitehorse.

The three-year sentence will end soon, and the youth, who was 16 years old when sentenced, is set to be released June 14. He was 15 at the time of Vittrekwa’s death.

Vittrekwa’s body was found on a walking path in the McIntyre subdivision in December 2014.

She had been invited by the youth to a friend’s house to drink the night before. She had turned down his advances that night. She had left the friend’s house with the youth to walk home.

When her body was found, she had a broken jaw and two black eyes, and her face displayed blunt force trauma. She was found without her winter coat.

Her cause of death was determined as intoxication, exposure, asphyxia and her injuries.

The youth responsible for her death appeared in youth court Friday to discuss the conditions of his release.

Crown Ludovic Gouaillier told Judge Peter Chisholm that there were no concerns about the release.

The youth is behaving well in custody, court heard. He is working hard to attain a high school diploma, in an effort to attend a post-secondary institution in British Columbia in September.

Gouaillier mentioned that, despite working hard, the youth had fallen behind in his studies, which could throw off his hope to attend school in B.C.

While the Crown said there is danger the youth could play catch-up in schooling, he feels there is still enough time for him to finish his studies.

“There is still time to rectify the course,” Gouaillier said.

The Crown did say that members of the Vittrekwa family are having trouble with the youth’s pending release.

He said this should not be a problem since the youth will not be running into the family in public, since he will be leaving the territory.

Moving to conditions of release, the Crown said probation supervision will have to be transfered to B.C.

He said all the no-contact orders would still be in place, and suggested adding more people to that list.

Gouaillier also suggested adding two more conditions: that the youth not be able to enter the McIntyre subdivision and not attend any Kwanlin Dün First Nation events.

Since these two conditions were broad, he suggested that it be worded in such a way that the youth’s probation supervisor can list several areas that are off-limits.

Cathy Rasmussen, who was representing the youth, addressed his falling behind in school.

She said the youth only has three subjects remaining: math, chemistry and English. The youth has the help he needs and is anxious to finish schooling, she added.

“He’s quite motivated to buckle down,” Rasmussen said.

She said the youth’s motivation can be quantified. He has received a scholarship for post-secondary studies and does not want to lose the opportunity. He has made the trip to B.C. see the institution and meet people.

Chisholm asked if the youth had anything to say.

The youth admitted to falling two weeks behind but was still able maintain grades in the high 70s.

He said his day entails mostly sitting down in front of a computer to complete school work. He has a job but had to cut back hours to make time for his studies.

The youth told the judge he is focused on finishing high school, and thanked the court for the opportunity.

He said he understood the circumstances of him being involved in court proceedings are not good, adding he believes no one should have had to go through what Vittrekwa had.

He said he remembers the violent incident everyday.

Chisholm said he is pleased with the youth’s progress. He could see that the move from secure custody to open custody has been positive.

He said he hopes the youth understands that he cannot undo Vittrekwa’s death. He added that the best course of action is to stick to his plan so he does not hurt anybody else.

Chishom said he believes the youth needs to move forward. He could see that the youth felt shame and remorse for the pain he has caused to the victim’s family.

He encouraged that the youth not dwell on the past nor possible failure, wanting him to think of the possibility of succeeding.

The judge said the plan for the youth in B.C. is well-conceived. He said there will be a need for adjustment, but everything is transferable from the Yukon.

He will have a youth worker, youth forensic psychologist, a youth probation officer and a residence waiting for him.

“I think it is a positive,” Chisholm said.

Four to six weeks is not a lot of time to finish his studies, the judge said, but he believes it is enough. He said the youth is more than capable of getting the work done.

As for conditions, Chisholm decreed that the youth must keep the peace, attend court when required, report to his supervisor upon release and report any changes to employment, education or residency to the supervisor.

The youth is subject to a firearm ban as well as a curfew. He cannot be outside of his residence between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

He must attend counselling and is subject to an alcohol prohibition.

The youth cannot enter McIntyre, the Canada Games Centre nor F. H. Collins Secondary School or any location specified by his probation officer.

The conditions are subject to a review three months after he arrives in B.C.

Comments (13)

Up 2 Down 0

FCO on May 18, 2018 at 3:25 pm

Yukon Criminal Justice System at his absolute best, Not! Sad this POS is being released. My heart is with Brandy's family, no justice for this young woman. He commits murder and gets an education and gets a second chance. How is this right? Makes me so angry.

Up 2 Down 0

Kwanlin Dun spoke on May 17, 2018 at 9:51 pm

To My Opinion: First Nations did speak. He is banned from Kwanlin Dun, which may not seem like much to you, but that small jurisdiction has had so much violence and unsolved murders the last while....and trust me, I've been told that he will be paid back if he stays here. It's best that he moves on. He will only go back to bad company if he stays here and never change. I think he should have had a life sentence for what he did.

Up 1 Down 0

Bert H. on May 17, 2018 at 5:59 pm

There's a reason the Yukon has the worst rated 'Justice System' in Canada two years running now.

Up 2 Down 0

Been there on May 17, 2018 at 4:56 pm

Media reported this youth was being watched by probation at time of murder. That clearly wasn’t so helpful then, what is different now?

Up 4 Down 0

Hannimal on May 17, 2018 at 2:47 pm

Hard to believe BC is accepting this piece of s**t. What a despicable judicial system we have in Canada. Hard to believe that so many people and so many resources are in place helping this psychopathic loser. Just absolutely disgusting. RIP Brandy and his next victim.

Up 5 Down 0

My Opinion on May 15, 2018 at 10:46 pm

Come on First Nations where are you on this? Speak up for justice and put perpetrators away. People are afraid to speak up in your community as they know these perps will be right back and will get even. Or at best terrorize people with fear of retribution.

Up 6 Down 0

My Opinion on May 15, 2018 at 10:44 pm

So he has all of these handlers, People helping him get his work done, money for a scholarship, a house in Vancouver the highest rental costs in Canada. What did my kid get???? "You got it" Nothing. I am disgusted.

Up 4 Down 0

Juniper Jackson on May 15, 2018 at 5:05 pm

uh huh.. I think this was a teenage psychopath, growing into an adult psychopath. I too am glad he is moving out BC can deal with him. Just my opinion of course. Brandy was barely alive when he was done with her, but he never went back, he never called for help.. and..he still isn't sorry. “There is still time to rectify the course,” Gouaillier said. Not.

Up 6 Down 0

Unbelievable on May 15, 2018 at 1:29 pm

There is something seriously wrong with this country if someone kills someone else and gets what is essentially a slap on the wrist, and a chance to finish high school!?!? I don't care what the law says, when you are 15 you know better than to kill a girl just cause she wasn't interested in sleeping with you. Ridiculous and sad! RIP.

Up 7 Down 0

wow on May 15, 2018 at 9:15 am

....unbelievable

Up 5 Down 0

He can't be back here on May 15, 2018 at 12:20 am

It is good that he is moving to BC. He will never be reintegrated into Yukon society. It should be mandatory that he is not allowed to live here. As for university, he needs to stay sober and off of drugs if he wants to succeed. If he is really sorry for what he's done, he will strive to stay clean and make amends to society for the horror that he committed. RIP Brandy.

Up 6 Down 0

north_of_60 on May 14, 2018 at 5:23 pm

The convict's release should be contingent on attaining a high school diploma, and attending a post-secondary institution, or he goes back to jail.

Up 6 Down 0

Just Sayin' on May 14, 2018 at 5:03 pm

This story makes me so sad. A young woman, daughter, sister, future mother (?), lost her life. The person who did it, gets to live. He gets to be seen by his family and friends. Brandy is a murdered woman, who in 25 years will be a distant memory. This man gets to continue with his life, yes, he will have record, but I bet you, Brandy's family would take her having a record than her not being here.

I am glad to see the man is trying to better his life, but the fact he does not have to remain in jail for at least the amount of time Brandy was alive, is sad. I hope this individual does something positive and makes a change in this World because you took away someone who possibly would have.

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