The Thunder Bay teenager who allegedly threw a trailer hitch at Anishinaabe woman Barbara Kentner while she was walking down the street is out on bail after being charged with second-degree murder.
“I don’t feel it’s okay,” said Melissa Kentner, Barbara Kentner’s sister.
“He should still be in jail, awaiting trial. Then see what happens after that,” she said.
Barbara Kentner, 34, was hit in the stomach after a passenger in a moving vehicle hurled the hitch out the window January 28.
Kentner required emergency surgery for a ruptured small intestine.
A week later, Brayden Bushby, 18, was charged with aggravated assault.
Kentner never recovered from her injuries.
She died on July 4.
(Melissa Kentner outside the Thunder Bay courthouse. Photo: Willow Fiddler/APTN)
Melissa Kentner, who cared for her up until her death, said she’s happy the charge has been upgraded but has mixed emotions.
“I don’t know how to feel right now,” said Melissa Kentner. “I’m happy, I’m sad and leary of what’s going to happen. There’s always a chance he could walk.”
On Friday Kentner, and her niece Serena, Barbara Kentner’s teenage daughter, met with the Acting Crown Attorney Andrew Sadler, Regional Coroner Michael Wilson, and Thunder Bay Police Detective Joe Dampier at the Thunder Bay courthouse.
Kentner had remained hopeful that Bushby’s charge would be upgraded.
Earlier in the week, after being invited to the meeting she said that she hoped that he would be charged with murder.
They went into the Indigenous Peoples Court to smudge before heading into a private meeting which lasted over an hour.
(Barbara Kentner in an undated photo)
Coming out of that meeting, Kentner said she felt good.
By 11 am, the Crown was before the court reading the upgraded charge of second-degree murder against Bushby.
In the months since Barbara Kentner’s death, the Crown had been waiting for the completed coroner’s report with any evidence that would indicate Barbara died as a result of her injuries from being attacked with the trailer hitch.
After the assault, Kentner was in and out of the hospital with complications from her injuries.
Then in March, Melissa Kentner told APTN National News that her sister had weeks to live.
“There’s nothing they could do for her,” Kentner said after the family met with doctors.
It was a cold Saturday night in January when Barbara was walking down the street with her older sister Melissa.
They were walking from their sister’s house to Melissa’s son’s house, a few blocks away.
It was a walk they did often. Turns out, it was also their last.
Melissa Kentner recalled seeing the vehicle coming towards them from down the street with one of the passengers hanging out the window. Melissa Kentner was walking ahead of her sister.
“I didn’t really think anything of it and then I heard him say, ‘oh I (f**king) got one’ and he’s laughing away,” said Melissa Kentner.
She looked back at her sister who was hunched over in pain.
“I got hit with something,” Barbara yelled to her sister.
Kentner said she saw the trailer hitch on the ground next to her sister.
That trailer hitch now police evidence in a murder case.
Hours after his arrest for the second-degree murder of Barbara Kentner, Bushby was walking out of the courthouse with his family.
Acting Crown Attorney Sadler didn’t contest the defence’s application to release Bushby from custody.
His parents, grandmother, and others sat quietly but anxiously in the courtroom.
Bushby stood in the centre of the room, wearing a brown camouflaged jacket, hands cuffed in front of him. He kept his eyes forward on the presiding judge, answering yes and no to the questions asked of him.
Bushby’s conditions are essentially the same since his release last February for the aggravated assault charge.
He must reside and be in the company of either his mother or father at all times, have no contact or communication with Melissa Kentner and three other individuals, and cannot possess weapons or be in possession of/consume alcohol and controlled substances.
Kentner said she still has a lot of questions. Like why haven’t the other three occupants in the vehicle charged?
It’s a question that was asked of the Crown.
“Things will be unfolding during the court proceedings,” was the only comment the Crown would make.
Bushby’s next court appearance is Nov. 6 in Thunder Bay. He has not yet entered a plea.
A publication ban prohibits any evidence related to the charge to be published.