‘Severe sentence’ urged in Creba deathAnother notorious Toronto gun crime was invoked on Wednesday during the sentencing hearing for two men convicted of manslaughter in the death of Jane Creba.
Crown attorney Maurice Gillezeau pointed to the 15-year sentence imposed for manslaughter against one of the men convicted in the 1994 Just Desserts shooting and suggested a similar penalty for Louis Raphael Woodcock and Tyshaun Barnett.
“I am asking you to hand down a severe sentence,” the Crown said to Ontario Superior Court Justice Gladys Pardu. “I am asking for a sentence of at least 15 years.”
Ms. Creba was fatally wounded on Boxing Day 2005 as she crossed Yonge Street just north of the Eaton Centre, while out shopping with her sister. The 15-year-old high school student was caught in the crossfire of a gun battle between two rival groups outside of a Foot Locker store.
Woodcock, 23, and Barnett, 23, were originally charged with second-degree murder and accused of firing guns in the shootout. They were convicted by a jury this spring of manslaughter and four counts of aggravated assault, related to others wounded in the gun battle.
Jeremiah Valentine, who pleaded guilty last December to second-degree murder and received a life sentence with no parole for at least 12 years, used a .357 Magnum to fire the shot that “almost certainly” was the source of the bullet that killed Ms. Creba, the court heard.
While Barnett and Woodcock were not accused of firing a shot that killed anyone, the Crown said the two men legally caused the death of Ms. Creba. “This was a mutual gunfight,” said Mr. Gillezeau.
In the Just Desserts case, another innocent young woman lost her life. Georgina “Vivi” Leimonis, a patron at the midtown restaurant, was fatally shot by Lawrence Brown during a botched robbery. Brown is serving a life sentence for murder. Gary Francis, an accomplice in the robbery, was sentenced to 15 years in prison for manslaughter in 1999 by Justice Brian Trafford.
“Francis did not fire the gun and he got 15 years,” noted Mr. Gillezeau.
Lawyers representing Woodcock and Barnett asked for a range of between six to 10 years in prison. They also argued for at least two-for-one credit for the four years of pre-trial custody. Both men spent several months of their time in jail “triple bunked” in 54-square-foot cells at the Toronto Don Jail, the court heard.
Recent changes to the Criminal Code that would normally limit pre-trial credit to a one-to-one ratio, do not apply to people charged before the law took effect.
Christopher Hicks, who represents Barnett, urged Judge Pardu to impose a sentence based on the law and not the notoriety of the case. “There are no nice facts to manslaughter,” he said.
Woodcock and Barnett both apologized to the court for their actions and the death of Ms. Creba. “I hope that Ms. Creba and her family and everyone affected by my acts will one day find it in their hearts to forgive me,” said Woodcock, wearing a blue sweater and dress pants.
Judge Pardu indicated that she will impose sentence on Aug. 26.