The family of a teen who was stabbed to death here last July aren’t satisfied with the sentence given Monday to 21-year-old Tara George of Thunder Bay for her role in the killing.
As first reported in yesterday’s Daily Bulletin, George was sentenced to one-year probation, plus given a 10-year prohibition from possessing any weapons, after plea bargaining her case from manslaughter to being a party to an assault with a weapon.
“I don’t think its fair,” Janet Bruyere, grandmother of victim Nathan Edward McDonald, said yesterday. “I expected it to turn out differently.
“It said in court she gave [Joseph Francis Terriault] the knife, but she didn’t know what he was going to use it for—it’s hard to believe.
“It’s been bothering me. I wouldn’t give anybody a knife if there’s a fight,” Bruyere added.
McDonald was stabbed at a party around 3 a.m. on July 31 in the backyard of 1024 Webster Ave. by Terriault. He later died in hospital.
Terriault was arrested a few hours later near the Fort Frances Courthouse. He was sentenced to six years in prison Nov. 7 after pleading guilty to manslaughter.
“I was disappointed. He killed a child. Nathan had his birthday in April, and then, three months later, he’s gone,” said Bruyere.
“If she hadn’t passed the knife to that guy, my son would be alive,” said Verna McDonald, Nathan’s mother.
“It’s just disgusting,” echoed McDonald’s uncle, Tom Big George, within an hour of the sentencing Monday.
Crown Attorney Robert “Buster” Young explained the court’s decision.
“Basically, she’d been charged with manslaughter, not as the perpetrator of the offence, but as being party of a party that led to the crime,” he noted.
Evidence showed George handed Terriault the knife he used to stab McDonald, thus substantiating the charge she pleaded guilty to.
“But there’s also testimony that said she tried to pull [Terriault] away. The evidence isn’t clear as to what her role was,” said Young.
“It’s clear she was involved. It’s not clear she was directly responsible in Nathan McDonald’s death,” he reiterated.
George had been charged with manslaughter Nov. 4 in Thunder Bay.
Young noted no one else has been charged in connection with McDonald’s death.