Alicia Murphy has been sentenced to 14 years in prison without parole for beating and drowning another woman in the Yukon River.
Three weeks ago, a Whitehorse jury found Murphy, 29, guilty of second-degree murder in the death of Evangeline Billy.
On Tuesday, Murphy received a lengthy prison sentence without parole because of the “senseless and brutal” nature of the murder, said Justice Ron Veale.
Billy’s family packed the courtroom for the sentencing, and relatives remained in the courthouse lobby hugging and crying afterward.
“It’s been a very long trial for the family of Evangeline Billy and a very long trial for the family of the accused,” said Noel Sinclair, the Crown attorney who defended Billy’s case.
Family from both sides regularly attended the trial, which took place over three weeks in October.
“We’ve heard some very disturbing evidence and seen some very graphic pictures,” he said. “I’m pleased that the prosecution has ended successfully for the Crown in terms of our theory of the case.”
On the night of the murder, Billy had enough alcohol in her system to kill an inexperienced drinker, said Veale.
That made her especially vulnerable when Murphy hit her on the head several times near the Yukon River in downtown Whitehorse.
After the beating, Murphy tried to stage the incident to look like a rape.
She then put Billy’s body in the river and held the victim’s head underwater, according to a witness who said Murphy confessed to her that she had drowned Billy.
“The sentencing judge did find that this was the beating-up of an incapacitated victim and the accused has been sentenced to, of course, a life sentence, but also a very long period of ineligibility for parole,” said Sinclair.
“In all circumstances, I’m content with the outcome of the case and hope that now the family can truly begin the process of grieving, healing and recovery for themselves.”
Chief Eddie Skookum, who represents the Little Salmon/Carmacks First Nation, spoke on behalf of the family after the trial.
“They’re glad the case is over,” said Skookum. “They’re quite agreeable with the sentence.
“They kind of feel for the other side of the family and we know that emotions are high on both sides, but these are times to heal.
“We’re going to try and help the family as much as we can over the next few months and make sure they do get that type of healing, but they know that justice has been served.”
Murphy suffers from alcohol and crack cocaine addiction, said Veale in his sentencing.
After experiencing several traumatic events in childhood, Murphy was known to police as a violent person for more than a decade.
She assaulted a police officer in 1998 and stabbed her husband in December 2007.
Murphy was awaiting trial for the stabbing incident when she killed Billy in Whitehorse.
Murphy also has 11 internal infractions at the Whitehorse Correctional Centre and has had to be isolated in a special cell.
These incidents led Veale to believe Murphy won’t be easily rehabilitated and has to serve a long sentence, he said.
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