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Manslaughter sentencing pushed back one month

Justice Bonnie Warkentin said she needs more time to determine the sentence for Jonathan Yellowhead, who was found guilty of manslaughter last year in the 2018 death of 17-year-old Braiden Jacob

THUNDER BAY - Sentencing for a man convicted of manslaughter in the 2018 death of 17-year-old Braiden Jacob has been rescheduled for next month after the judge informed counsel she needs more time in reaching a decision.

Jonathan Yellowhead, 26, appeared before Justice Bonnie Warkentin in a Thunder Bay Courtroom on Tuesday for a decision on sentence.

However, Justice Warkentin said due to various circumstances, she is not able to come to a decision at this time and that the case requires more thought.

“I don’t want to rush this. I think it’s a very important decision,” Justice Warkentin said. “I think it’s important both for the family of Braiden Jacob as well as for Mr. Yellowhead in these circumstances.”

Justice Warkentin added that one of the considerations that requires more time is an evaluation of the Gladue principals as it relates to sentencing.

In August, Yellowhead was found guilty of manslaughter in connection to the 2018 death of Jacob following a seven-day trial that opened in April 2022.

Jacob, of Webequie First Nation, was in the city of Thunder Bay for counselling services and he was first reported missing on Dec. 6, 2018.

Evidence presented during the trial, including surveillance footage, showed Yellowhead and Jacob together the night he went missing.

Jacob’s body was later found in the Chapples Park area on Dec. 9, 2018. A post-mortem examination determined he died as a result of hypothermia, blunt force trauma to the face and head, and alcohol intoxication.

Forensic evidence, including blood-like staining matching Jacob’s DNA found on a backpack Yellowhead was carrying that night and on a doorframe at the residence he was staying, was also presented during the trial.

During a sentencing submission hearing in December 2022, the Crown called for a custodial sentence of eight to 12 years, while Yellowhead’s defense counsel, Neil McCartney, asked Justice Warkentin to impose a sentence of three to five years, to be followed by two to three years' probation. 

The matter has been adjourned to April 24, 2023 for Justice Warkentin to deliver her decision on sentence. Yellowhead remains in custody.  


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