Emotions ran high in a Winnipeg courtroom after a judge handed down a youth sentence to one of the teens involved in the beating death of 19-year-old Serena McKay on Sagkeeng First Nation in April 2017.
Judge Lindy Choy sentenced the 17-year-old to two years in secure custody with one year under conditional supervision.
The teen girl, who was 16 at the time, cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.
She pleaded guilty to manslaughter in January.
Crown attorney Jennifer Comack was seeking an adult sentence of seven years, while the defense was asking for the maximum youth sentence of three years.
McKay’s body was found outside a home on Sagkeeng, located approximately 120 km north of Winnipeg, on April 23, 2017.
She was attending the high school at the time and living in a nearby community.
Court had previously heard McKay was at a house party with six others when a fight broke out.
The brutal beating was filmed and posted to social media.
Both the younger teen and a second girl, who was 17 at the time, were arrested and taken into custody in April 2017.
The younger teen will not receive credit for time served.
According to the autopsy, McKay found 67 injuries to her body. A coroner determined she likely died of hypothermia after she was unable to seek help due to injuries and intoxication.
As Choy read her decision she called the attack “horrific” and condemned the teen for her involvement.
“There is a young woman gone from this earth because of your cruelty,” Choy told the courtroom. “You left her outside alone to die.”
The judge said while the teen “showed zero regard” for McKay’s life she didn’t believe the teen was exhibiting adult behaviour. The judge said she believed the teen had the “moral capacity of an adolescent.”
After the judge read her decision a handful of McKay’s relatives became emotional.
Some shouted “justice isn’t served” while sheriffs rushed the teen out of the courtroom.
Outside the courtroom, Serena McKay’s mother expressed disappointment in the outcome.
“I just have no faith anymore in the system,” Delores Daniels told reporters.
“They did us wrong today and they continue to do us wrong with everything that happened with this whole case.”
During the sentencing hearing she told the court she had “lost her best friend.”
On Thursday, Daniels said she was still struggling to come to terms with losing her only daughter.
“She was a beautiful young girl who had a full life ahead of her,” she said. “She was a friend to everybody that she encountered, and I just don’t see why they did this to her.”
The older teen, who is now 18, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder.
She was sentenced as a youth in June.
Justice Rocky Pollack sentenced the teen to 40 months in custody and 23 months under supervision.
Following Thursday’s decision Daniels is calling for an overhaul to the justice system.
“I hope that [this] brings some type of action or something against this whole system.”