THUNDER BAY – Two men have been sentenced to five years in prison for their role in a fatal Field Street assault, though their lawyers maintain they played no role in the grisly burning of the victim’s body.
Felton Sakanee and Keith Mishenene, who will end up serving an additional two years and five months behind bars in a federal penitentiary after factoring in time served in pre-sentence custody, were sentenced Tuesday morning at the Thunder Bay Courthouse in the July 2014 death of 44-year-old Lloyd Oskineegish.
They were originally charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter in February.
Sakanee and Mishenene, along with Oskineegish, were among a group of 10 people who congregated in the wooded area near Field Street in the early evening of July 18, 2014.
While reading the facts of the case into court, Crown prosecutor David MacKenzie said “copious amounts” of alcohol was consumed by the group.
Oskineegish passed out and other members of the group accused him of being a sexual predator. Multiple members of the group, including Sakanee and Mishenene, began assaulting him.
A witness, who was originally charged in connection with the case, testified during preliminary hearings that Sakanee struck Oskineegish multiple times, landing blows to the head. He also testified Mishenene repeatedly punched Oskineegish in the face and appeared to hold an unknown foreign object.
After the assault, Oskineegish’s body was lit on fire, though defence lawyers David Bruzzese and George Joseph told the court neither one of their clients was responsible for that act.
An autopsy determined the cause of death to be multiple trauma, alcohol toxicity and posthumous burning on nearly 70 per cent of his body.
Sakanee, 28, prepared a statement for the court apologizing for his actions.
“I will not be able to forget the pain I caused the family of Lloyd Oskineegish,” the statement read.
Mishenene, 23, also prepared a statement and said he was “very, truly sorry” and recognized the “devastating” impact it had on the family.
Justice Helen Pierce urged the two men to take advantage of their time in prison to turn their lives around.
“It will be a lonely journey but a journey worth taking,” she said. “Please do not throw your lives away.”
Sakanee is also subject to a 10-year weapons ban and is ordered to submit a DNA sample. Mishenene is subject to a lifetime weapons prohibition and is ordered to submit a DNA sample.
Sakanee and Mishenene were arrested on July 19 and had remained in custody ever since.
At one point there were six people charged in the case. Charges have been dismissed against two people, while Larissa Shingebis and Kevin Wabason remain before the courts.