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Youths enter pleas in Sandy Bay case involving woman's death

By Robin Dudgeon, Portage Daily Graphic

The two youths accused in the death of Roberta McIvor last July on Sandy Bay Ojibway First Nation appeared in Court of Queen's Bench in Portage la Prairie to enter their pleas Tuesday.

Crown attorneys Carli Owens and Joyce Dalmyn are seeking to charge the two youths, aged 15 and 17 at the time of the incident, with theft of a motor vehicle and manslaughter, but will not be seeking an adult sentence. The two youths pleaded guilty to both of the charges.

While the Crown is aiming for the maximum youth sentence of three years, the defence lawyers Cam Pauls and Greg Brodsky are looking for the minimum youth sentence.

It was argued by the Crown that it would not be appropriate to charge the girls with murder because they did not possess the state of mind necessary for it to be considered murder.

Judge K. Curtis presided over the meeting and heard the details explained by the Crown.

Crown attorney Joyce Dalmyn said Roberta McIvor had been drinking the night of July 30, 2011 and had a designated driver drive her car from a party to another party in Sandy Bay. The driver left McIvor passed out and strapped into the car's front seat, with the keys still in the ignition.

The two accused allegedly attempted to steal the car later that night. After driving a short distance, the girls were said to have pushed the victim out of the car, and thought they left her on the side of the road. But they did not know McIvor's neck had become entangled in the seatbelt and she was being dragged behind the car. McIvor was dragged behind the car for about a kilometre before she was decapitated.

When the girls finally abandoned the car after it ran out of gas, they had no idea they had killed McIvor. The Crown added the accused were telling people they had stolen the car, but did not know they had seriously injured McIvor.

The case will be back in court on July 11 to prepare to set a date.

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