Guilty plea in rape­mur­der of 11-year-old

Windsor Star - - CANADA - JAMES TURNER

WIN­NIPEG • A teen who will­ingly gave a DNA sam­ple to po­lice in­ves­ti­gat­ing the death of a girl in a re­mote Man­i­toba First Na­tion com­mu­nity has ad­mit­ted he killed her while sex­u­ally as­sault­ing her.

The boy, who is now 17, pleaded guilty to first-de­gree mur­der in Court of Queen’s Bench on Thurs­day. He can­not be iden­ti­fied un­der Canada’s youth jus­tice laws.

Teresa Robin­son was 11 when she dis­ap­peared af­ter leav­ing a birth­day party in Gar­den Hill on the night of May 5, 2015. She wasn’t re­ported miss­ing to RCMP un­til six days later.

That same day, searchers found her lower torso in a wooded area and her skull about nine me­tres away, ac­cord­ing to a brief state­ment of facts pre­sented in court by Crown at­tor­ney Chris Van­der­hooft.

It was ini­tially be­lieved she had been killed by a bear.

In­juries un­cov­ered dur­ing an au­topsy, how­ever, led po­lice to col­lect a DNA sam­ple.

That set off what Van­der­hooft de­scribed as a “lengthy and pro­tracted” homi­cide in­ves­ti­ga­tion in the com­mu­nity of 2,500 peo­ple, about 500 km north­east of Win­nipeg.

In their ef­forts to find Teresa’s killer, RCMP col­lected hun­dreds of vol­un­tary DNA sam­ples from com­mu­nity mem­bers.

“It was in the course of that sweep that (they) took a con­sent sam­ple from the ac­cused,” said Van­der­hooft.

The sam­ple matched the DNA taken from the girl’s body and led to the teen’s ar­rest in March 2016. Another DNA sam­ple was taken by po­lice and also matched, Jus­tice Chris Martin was told.

Crown and de­fence lawyers said they will rec­om­mend the teen be sen­tenced as a youth when court re­con­venes Feb. 5. They will also rec­om­mend the max­i­mum youth sen­tence of 10 years — six years in cus­tody fol­lowed by four un­der su­per­vi­sion in the com­mu­nity.

They want the teen to get two years of credit for time served in re­mand.

The full facts of the in­ves­ti­ga­tion and in­for­ma­tion about the teen’s back­ground are to be pre­sented at the Fe­bru­ary hear­ing.

Out­side court, Teresa’s mother said the boy’s guilty plea would bring her some clo­sure.

“All he kept say­ing was that he didn’t ... do that, he wouldn’t do that,” San­dra Robin­son said.

She said she hasn’t yet turned her mind to what she wants to tell her daugh­ter’s killer when given a chance.

“I haven’t even thought about that,” she said.

Teresa was very well-liked in her com­mu­nity, Robin­son said. “Ev­ery­body loved her.

“She was a lit­tle girl. She was my baby.”

SHE WAS A LIT­TLE GIRL. SHE WAS MY BABY ... EV­ERY­BODY LOVED HER.

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