WINNIPEG – A teenager who helped beat a young Manitoba woman and shared the footage of her bloody death apologized to the victim’s family at a sentencing hearing Tuesday.
Serena McKay’s body was found on the Sagkeeng First Nation last April and two teenage girls, who were 16 and 17, were arrested.
The older girl, who has since turned 18 but can’t be named because she was underage when the beating occurred, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December.
“There are no words to describe how sorry I am,” the girl told McKay’s family in a Winnipeg courtroom. “I am living every day with this guilt and shame … I want to do things in Serena’s honour.”
The Crown and defence are jointly recommending the girl receive the maximum youth sentence of seven years. The Crown wants the girl to spend four years behind bars and serve 1 1/2 years in the community.
Defence lawyer Greg Brodsky, who said his client has shown remorse, is asking for one year in jail with the rest of the sentence to be served in the community.
McKay had been at a house party in the Sagkeeng community when there was an argument about alcohol, court heard.
Two videos, which later circulated on social media, showed McKay being attacked.
McKay’s family members stood up and left before the videos were played in court. The woman being sentenced held her head in her hands and sobbed as the graphic footage showed McKay being punched and kicked while she begged for the beating to stop.
Crown prosecutor Jennifer Comack said the woman texted the videos to a friend first, along with a message boasting that she “stomped her” out. The videos were widely shared, Comack said.
McKay’s mother recalled the pain of seeing her daughter’s bloody, swollen face as it was circulated on social media.
“I dream about her,” Delores Daniels told court as she clutched an eagle feather and broke into tears. “I wake up crying and sad that she is not here and wonder what she would have become in life.
“This has been a nightmare to me … How can an only daughter be replaced?”
In a statement read in court, McKay’s father, Harvey McKay, said he was at work in northern Manitoba when he was horrified to discover people around him were watching videos of the beating.
“I will never get over what happened to my baby Serena,” his statement said.
Some 24 victim impact statements were submitted to the court from family and friends. There were more from people who didn’t know McKay, including two from people outside Canada.
Judge Rocky Pollack is to decide which can be included in the court record and how long the teen will be jailed. The sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue Thursday.