The body of 17-year-old Brandy Vittrekwa was discovered in December 2014 in the McIntyre subdivision in Whitehorse. (Facebook/Yukon News file)

Brandy Vittrekwa’s killer to move to B.C. upon release from custody

Youth will serve one year of community supervision in B.C., where he will attend university

The youth who killed 17-year-old Brandy Vittrekwa in December 2014, beating her and leaving her for dead in Whitehorse’s McIntyre subdivision, will soon be released from custody to serve the rest of his sentence under community supervision in British Columbia.

Yukon Territorial Court Judge Peter Chisholm approved a plan May 11 following a sentence review for the youth to attend university in British Columbia upon completing his custodial sentence June 16.

The youth, who was 15 at the time of the crime, cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act. He was sentenced in 2016 to two years in custody and one year under supervision in the community after pleading guilty to manslaughter.

During the review May 11, Crown attorney Ludovic Gouaillier told Chisholm that a report on the youth’s progress shows that he is continuing to “perform relatively well.” His plan to relocate to British Columbia for university is a “good solution,” Gouaillier said, to address concerns from Vittrekwa’s family about seeing the youth after he’s released and allowing the youth to continue pursuing rehabilitation and education.

The only “alarm bell” right now, Gouaillier continued, was that the youth has recently “somewhat fell behind in his studies,” possibly putting his university acceptance and scholarships at risk, but appears to have “hunkered down” with school work again.

The British Columbia government is expected to take over supervision responsibilities once the youth moves there and has agreed to the transfer, Gouaillier added.

The youth’s lawyer, Cathy Rasmussen, said the youth has been getting extra support from teachers and is “quite motivated to buckle down and get the school work done” to ensure that he can attend university. He has also been doing well in counselling, Rasmussen added, and recently had a “positive” meeting with a support team in British Columbia.

Speaking directly to Chisholm, the youth admitted to having fallen behind in school but said that he has now made it a priority to catch up, putting aside work and community visit opportunities so he can focus on studying.

“At this point, there will be no rehabilitating if I don’t finish my school,” he said.

He also thanked Chisholm for the rehabilitative opportunities the judge has granted him while he’s been in custody.

“The circumstances were really shitty, no one should have to go through that,” the youth said, referring to Vittrekwa’s death. “That’s basically what keeps me going, remembering that…. It’s not just about my future, it’s about the future I took away.”

In approving the youth’s transfer to British Columbia, Chisholm said he’s “pleased” with the progress the youth has made while in custody and that it was clear the youth has been taking his punishment and rehabilitative opportunities seriously.

“Although you can’t undo the crime that you committed, you can, in my view, diligently follow the plan that is being initiated for you, and you can continually strive to address your risk factors in order that you never hurt another person,” Chisholm said.

“In my view, you should be moving forward focused on the opportunity that you have as opposed to succumbing to the pressures that might accompany that opportunity. Instead of getting caught up in the possibility of failure, you should embrace the chance to learn and expand your horizons.”

Chisholm placed several conditions on the youth’s community supervision term, including agreements to keep the peace, appear in court when required, maintain a curfew, attend any counselling as ordered and abstain from possessing or using alcohol and non-prescription drugs.

He must also not contact several people related to the case, and will also be prohibited from attending the Canada Games Centre, F. H. Collins Secondary School, the Individual Learning Centre, the McIntyre subdivision and any other “reasonably set out location.”

The plan is scheduled to be reviewed again on June 14, and the youth’s progress will be subject to another review three months after he arrives in British Columbia.

With files from Ashley Joannou

Contact Jackie Hong at jackie.hong@yukon-news.com

MMIWGYouth Criminal Justice ActYukon courts

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Sport Yukon held its 45th annual Member Awards on Dec. 3, recognizing the achievements of nearly 80 athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators from 16 different organizations. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Sport Yukon hands out the hardware, virtually

Awards ceremony recognizes athletes, coaches, volunteers and administrators

Commissioner of Yukon Anglique Bernard, in her role as Chancellor of the Order of Yukon, announced the 2020 Order of the Yukon inductees in a statement Dec. 2. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Order of Yukon inductees announced

Ten Yukoners will receive territory’s highest honour

The primary goal of the new relief package for tourism operators is to support the tourism sector, whether they’re private industry or not-for-profit organizations, said Tourism and Culture Minister Jeanie McLean. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Relief program offers funds for businesses that rely on tourists for more than half their revenue

Two new streams of funding, in addition to the accommodation relief program, were announced

Kimberly Armstrong, creator of Glimmer of Hope, poses for a photo with examples of toys for packages she is putting together. The care packages are for children who have suffered abuse, trauma, illness or sudden loss. (Kimberly Armstrong/Submitted)
Kids experiencing trauma will receive gifts from new charity

A Whitehorse woman is compiling care packages for children who have suffered… Continue reading

Yukonomist Keith Halliday
YUKONOMIST: Climate emergency, lite edition

Back in September 2019, Whitehorse City Council declared a climate emergency, to… Continue reading

In 1909, Joseph Kavetzki took over Brown’s Harness Shop, depicted here, reconstructed, 90 years later. Third Avenue in Dawson, south of Princess Street, was the heart of the blue collar industrial section of gold rush Dawson. (Michael Gates/Yukon News)
History Hunter: The Yukon is rich in hidden history

I had worked for a few months in my new position as… Continue reading

A sign outside the Yukon Inn Convention Centre indicates Yukoners can get a flu vaccine inside. As of Dec. 4, the vaccinations won’t be available at the convention centre. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse Convention Centre ends flu vaccination service early

Flu vaccinations won’t be available at the Whitehorse Convention Centre after Dec.… Continue reading

asdf
Today’s mailbox: Kindness, shingles and speed limits

Letters to the editor published Dec. 4, 2020

ASDF
COMMENTARY: Land use planning must include industry

Carl Schulze Special to the News This commentary is a response to… Continue reading

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decisions made by Whitehorse city council this week

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White River First Nation to run for councillors in the 2021 election. (Maura Forrest/Yukon News File)
White River First Nation to elect new chief and council

Nominations continue to be open for Northern Tutchone members of the White… Continue reading

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new councillor in a byelection held Dec. 3. (Wikimedia Commons)
Watson Lake elects new councillor

The Town of Watson Lake has elected John Devries as a new… Continue reading

The new Little Salmon Carmacks First Nation council elected Dec. 1. (Submitted)
Little Salmon Carmacks elects new chief, council

Nicole Tom elected chief of Little Salmon Carcmacks First Nation

Most Read