MINNEDOSA — The Crown has asked the court to consider a 12- to 15-year sentence for a woman involved in a home invasion that resulted in a man being shot and killed.
"Their plan was brutal in its simplicity, and I would suggest blood-chilling in its callousness," Crown attorney Ron Toews told the Minnedosa provincial court on Tuesday. "The plan was to surprise him, kick in his door while armed with a sawed-off shotgun and the rest, as they say, is history."
Kelsie LeSergent, 21, pleaded guilty earlier this year to manslaughter for her role in the death of 62-year-old Leonard Maksymic on Nov. 25, 2017.
Toews said one of the most aggravating circumstances of the offence was the premeditation and planning involved, in which LeSergent and her two co-accused conspired to carry out a home invasion of Maksymic’s Neepawa residence.
"Ms. LeSergent did not set out in the early morning hours of Nov. 25 with an innocent intention of how she was going to conduct her activities on that night," Toews said. "Leaving aside the fact that Mr. Maksymic was shot, what she intended to do that night was participate in an armed home invasion."
They knew Maksymic was vulnerable because of his age, mobility and health issues, Toews said, and they knew he lived alone and would be surprised by their arrival.
"He was targeted and killed in his own home in the middle of the night," Toews said, noting it was a co-accused of LeSergent who is believed to have pulled the trigger. "While perhaps the result was not originally intended or thought through clearly by all the parties, not only was it reasonably foreseeable, but it was possible and I would suggest even highly likely to occur in the circumstances."
Maksymic’s family, who was present in the court room for LeSergent’s sentencing hearing, has been haunted by what happened to him, Toews said, and described him as a very generous and giving man.
Maksymic’s mother would receive a phone call from him every day, Toews said, and knew something was wrong when she did not receive a call from him the morning of Nov. 25.
She got a ride to his home from a family friend only to discover police investigating a crime scene.
"It’s not the way you want to find out that you’ve survived a child," Toews said. "It’s every parent’s worst nightmare."
LeSergent’s lawyer, Andrew Synyshyn, argued a sentence of eight to 10 years would be more appropriate, taking into consideration the seriousness of the offence as well as rehabilitation.
LeSergent is remorseful for what happened, Synyshyn said, which is demonstrated by her guilty plea and her candid confession to police.
"Without her confession, this incident would still be shrouded in mystery," Synyshyn said.
Synyshyn further argued LeSergent’s co-accused were the main drivers behind the offence.
"There are three people who are responsible, and only one of them (LeSergent) has entered a guilty plea and expressed her responsibility for her participation," Synyshyn said.
LeSergent is a vulnerable person, Synyshyn said, growing up having been physically and sexually abused and eventually gripped with an addiction to drugs and alcohol.
Even still, until this incident LeSergent has a minimal, non-violent criminal record, Synyshyn said.
"She’s not someone who I would label as being pre-disposed to violence," Synyshyn added.
When given the opportunity to address the court, LeSergent turned around to face Maksymic’s family in the gallery.
"I’m sorry," she said.
"After you kill him, you’re sorry," a family member retorted.
Judge Shauna Hewitt-Michta reserved her decision, which is expected to be delivered in October.
LeSergent’s co-accused, Molly Syganiec and Denver Henderson, have yet to enter pleas in relation to this offence and are scheduled for a preliminary hearing in February.
Syganiec has been charged with second-degree murder, while Henderson is facing charges of manslaughter and accessory after the fact to murder.
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