MINNEDOSA — A Keeseekoowenin First Nation man was sentenced to eight years in prison after pleading guilty to manslaughter in the shooting death of his brother-in-law 11 months ago.
Terris Ronald Mintuck, 50, entered his plea at Minnedosa provincial court yesterday.
On Jan. 4, 2013, RCMP received two 911 calls from the First Nation, which is located just north of Elphinstone.
The first call came at 10:36 p.m, when a distressed Mintuck called police requesting assistance.
Mintuck told police his nephews showed up at his home after they had been beaten up by two men on the reserve.
After learning it would take 15 to 20 minutes for RCMP to respond, a frustrated Mintuck told the operator: “We need someone sooner than that.”
At 10:58 p.m., a second call came into 911 — this time from Mintuck’s common-law wife, who told police that her brother, 33-year-old Terrel Stewart Shorting, had been shot, that he was dead and that she didn’t know who had the gun.
While the exact details of what happened in the 22 minutes between calls isn’t clear, Crown attorney Jim Ross said when police arrived Mintuck walked out of the bush and told officers: “I’m over here. I didn’t mean to do it.”
In a 55-page police interview, Mintuck gave two separate accounts of what happened.
In one account, he said Terrel showed up and threw a beer can at him while he was returning his gun to an out-building, that he only pointed the gun at Shorting to scare him, believing the .22-calibre rifle wasn’t loaded.
In another, he said he meant to shoot over Shorting’s head.
Police discovered Shorting’s body in the snow at the bottom of the steps to Mintuck’s home.
“Terrel Shorting was shot once through the upper left side of his chest,” Ross said. “The trajectory was downward, consistent with a shot fired from the step.”
The investigation suggests the gun was fired between four and 10 feet away from the victim, Ross said.
“The .22-calibre bullet severed Terrel Shorting’s aorta and the pathologist said the death would have been nearly immediate with no time for medical intervention,” Ross said.
Both men had criminal records.
“Shorting had a history of causing trouble when he drank,” Ross said, serving long jail sentences for “drunken assaults.” His blood-alcohol content was 242 milligrams the night of the shooting — 80 milligrams is the level under the Criminal Code for impaired driving.
Mintuck has four assault convictions, his last coming in 2003.
Defence lawyer Bob Harrison said Mintuck did the right thing, calling RCMP to try to de-escalate the situation.
Harrison said it was never Mintuck’s intention to shoot his brother-in-law.
“There is certainly remorse,” Harrison said. “I’m not sure there is a much worse situation than taking another human’s life ... He relives that situation daily. He thinks about it when he wakes up in the morning and when he goes to bed at night.”
Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition December 7, 2013