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

Comments are closed

Just Posted

New transitional home opens its doors

Supportive housing, semi-independent living and drop-in services are set to be offered

Yukonstruct, Poor Creature wrap up legal arguments

Justice Ron Veale is expected to give his decision on the case next week.

Second attempted murder charge laid in downtown Whitehorse shooting

Two men are now facing a total of 17 charges in relation to the shooting outside the Elite Hotel

WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World

Yukon Energy announces rate hike

The average Yukon household will pay an extra $20.48 every month

EDITORIAL: Time for the Yukon Party’s opening act

Having a competitive leadership race could be good for the party

City news, briefly

Some of the news from the Dec. 2 Whitehorse city council meeting

Arctic Sports Inter-School Championship draws athletes from as far as Juneau

The three-day event included more than 300 participants from kindergarten to Grade 12

Access road to Telegraph Creek now open

Ministry has spent $300K to date on work to clear rockslide

Freedom Trails responds to lawsuit

A statement of defence was to the Yukon Supreme Court on Nov. 19.

Whitehorse RCMP seeking suspects after robbery at Yukon Inn

Robbery took place in early hours of Nov. 27, with suspects armed with a knife and “large stick”

Yukonomist: Your yogurt container’s dirty secret

You should still recycle, but recycling one might be giving you a false sense of environmental virtue

History Hunter: New book tells old story of nursing in the Yukon

Author Amy Wilson was a registered nurse in the Yukon from 1949 to 1951

Most Read