THUNDER BAY – After deliberating for a little more than three hours, a jury has found Courtney LaBelle guilty of second-degree murder for the 2020 stabbing death of her 11-year-old son.
Deliberations began just after 4 p.m. Thursday afternoon after closing submissions, and the jury returned to the courtroom with a unanimous decision just after 7:30 p.m.
The trial against LaBelle on the charge of second-degree murder opened on Sept. 12 and included six days of testimony. A publication ban was ordered by the court protecting the victim’s name.
Crown attorney Andrew Sadler argued LaBelle stabbed her 11-year-old son 31 times and knowingly caused his death. The post-mortem examination of the victim revealed of the 31 stab wounds, more than 10 penetrated his chest and abdominal cavity.
Two wounds penetrated his heart, resulting in extensive blood loss and death soon after. He also exhibited numerous defensive wounds to his arms and hands.
Defense counsel Gil Labine conceded that LaBelle stabbed her son, but argued she was not aware of her actions because she was experiencing drug-induced psychosis, and therefore did not meet the threshold of second-degree murder. He asked the jury to find her guilty on the lesser charge of manslaughter.
LaBelle was also facing a charge of aggravated assault, but on Thursday, Sadler asked that the charge be stayed in order to allow the jury to focus on the charge of second-degree murder during its deliberations.
Under the Criminal Code of Canada, a conviction of second-degree murder carries an automatic life sentence with parole ineligibility ranging from 10 to 25 years.
LaBelle was remanded into custody. A date for a sentencing hearing will be set in November.