A Brandon woman has been sentenced to a year in jail for a bloody attack with a wine bottle that left a crime scene that looked like a scene from a horror movie.
Crime scene photos show the floor of the entranceway to the victim’s apartment was coated in blood. One photo shows blood spray across a wall.
“The scene itself could only be described as horrific,” Crown attorney Yaso Mathu told court during sentencing on Thursday, quoting from a police report.
Joy Dawn Phelps, 37, was sentenced to a year in jail for assault with a weapon, plus another 70 days for subsequent bail breaches.
Phelps had met the victim, a man in his 50s, about a month before the attack. She called him in the early evening of March 6, 2013, and went to his apartment in Massey Manor on the 600-block of Pacific Avenue for a visit.
Throughout the night, they talked and drank wine together. But sometime around 9:45 p.m. — for a reason still unclear — Phelps attacked the man by clubbing him in the head with a wine bottle.
Police noted there were several smashed bottles in the apartment, but Phelps only recalls hitting the victim once.
Video surveillance caught her leaving the apartment, ensuring she shut the victim’s door behind her.
The blow, or blows, knocked the victim out and left deep cuts to his head. He lay in his apartment bleeding for about five hours before he crawled to a neighbouring apartment for help.
The man’s crawl for help along the hall was also caught on camera.
Investigators who reviewed the video footage noted how, unable to lift his lower legs, it took the victim three minutes to crawl about 40 feet to the next apartment.
At the door of his neighbour’s, he lifted his upper body enough to knock on the door, then fell halfway into the apartment when the resident opened the door.
That’s the position in which he was found when police and paramedics arrived.
One crime scene photo shows a path of blood smears that leads from the victim’s apartment, along the floor of the hall beside the wall, to the neighbour’s door.
Phelps was later arrested at her apartment elsewhere in the city. In court, Mathu said Phelps had tried to clean herself and clothes in an effort to destroy evidence, but blood was found on her jacket.
The victim spent two weeks in hospital following the assault, and shortly after his arrival there, he’d received 50 medical staples to close the deep cuts to his head.
On Thursday, he told court of the lasting physical and emotional impacts.
He said he suffers from severe mood swings, depression, anxiety, confusion, blurred vision, seizures, headaches, slowed thinking and hearing loss.
He walks with the help of a walker or cane due to poor balance, and currently can’t work.
“I feel hurt and violated by the attack and feel that part of me has been lost,” he said.
Phelps has a history of mental illness and substance abuse, and a record for violence.
In December, after originally pleading guilty to the assault charge, Phelps claimed that her beating victim had made unwanted sexual advances toward her. Her reaction with the wine bottle may have had something to do with her being sexually assaulted as a child, she claimed.
The victim denied Phelps’ claim, and a sentencing hearing was scheduled for Thursday to call evidence.
But on Thursday, Phelps’ claim of alleged advances wasn’t pursued and there was no need to call evidence.
Initially, her lawyer Ryan Fawcett intended to seek a conditional sentence but, conceding that wasn’t likely, a plea bargain was struck for a jail sentence that may have been higher if not for the deal.
Mathu and Fawcett agreed that Judge John Combs shouldn’t consider the portion of a pre-sentence report that referred to the alleged advances.
As he imposed the jail term, Combs described Phelps’ attack as unprovoked.
Phelps was also sentenced for a total of five counts of breaching her bail orders on two separate dates since the assault.
On June 8, she was found in the Summer Fair bar out past her curfew and has been in custody since.
Her jail sentence will be followed by 18 months of probation.
» Twitter: @IanHitchen
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition June 20, 2014