REGINA – A Regina teenager who pleaded guilty to manslaughter for killing a man over the colour of his shirt has been sentenced to seven years in prison.
Brendan Keewatin agreed to be sentenced as an adult, so there is no longer a publication ban on his name.
Keewatin, who is now 17, is still facing five years in jail once time served is taken into account.
Derrick Amyotte, who was 31, died in July 2012 after being stabbed several times.
Neighbours said at the time that the father of three was confronted for wearing a red shirt in the North Central area of Regina — a colour considered to denote gang ties.
Amyotte’s family and friends wouldn’t talk to reporters, but described him in victim impact statements as a loving father with a heart-warming laugh and a great sense of fun.
His loved ones wore pink to court on Monday because that was his favourite colour.
Defence lawyer Noah Evanchuck said Keewatin turned to gang life for acceptance and belonging because he didn’t have a strong relationship with his family.
“Gang life was the only place where he could receive belonging,” Evanchuck said outside Court of Queen’s Bench.
The lawyer said his client is very remorseful for his actions.
Justice Ellen Gunn called the crime senseless and acknowledged that there is nothing the justice system can do to bring peace to the family.
Crown prosecutor Erin Schroh told court last week that Keewatin, a member of the Native Syndicate gang, told Amyotte he shouldn’t be wearing a red shirt.
A fight erupted when Amyotte replied that it was his choice to wear what he wanted.
Schroh said witnesses thought it was a fist fight, but the accused was actually stabbing Amyotte with a pocket knife. The fight ended after Amyotte punched the teenager to the ground and stomped on his head, rendering him unconscious.
Amyotte suffered seven stab wounds to his chest and back. One of them penetrated his heart. He walked a short distance before he collapsed. He was taken to hospital where he later died.
Keewatin told the family he was sorry “from the bottom of my heart.
“I will deal with this every day for the rest of my life.”