Friday, January 31, 1997
Murder victim's family angryJail terms for two white men who killed an Indian woman in Regina are called inadequate.
REGINA -- Pamela George's weeping relatives fled the courtroom Thursday after a judge sentenced the aboriginal woman's two white killers to 6 1/2 years in prison.
Many in the overflowing courtroom complained the sentence given to university students Alex Ternowetsky and Steven Kummerfield for manslaughter was too short and hinted racism.
The two, both 20, were originally charged with first-degree murder, but were found guilty of the lesser charge by a jury late last year.
Aboriginal leaders said that was because they are white and from well-to-do families. Women's groups complained the court judged George more harshly than the men because of her gender and the fact she worked as a prostitute.
On Thursday supporters also denounced shaky apologies to George's family by the two men before the sentencing as too little, too late.
"It's all right for...little white boys to go out on the streets, get drunk and use that for an excuse to start hunting down our own people," said Tony Cote of the Yorkton Tribal Council in eastern Saskatchewan.
"I don't think that's fair."
Chief Lindsay Kaye of the Sakimay Indian band demanded an inquiry.
"There is a justice system for the Indians, a justice system for the white," Kaye said outside court as about 100 people milled around.
Ternowetsky and Kummerfield picked up George, an occasional prostitute, in downtown Regina in April 1995 after an evening of heavy drinking.
They took the 28-year-old mother of two outside the city for sex, then beat her so badly her family couldn't open the coffin at her funeral.
Her battered body was found in a ditch by a passerby heading to work.
The two never tried to explain why they beat George so severely, Crown prosecutor Matt Miazga said during the sentencing arguments. He suggested her race, gender and the fact she was a prostitute may have been factors.
The Crown has already appealed the manslaughter conviction.
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