T.O. man sentenced to life in Boxing Day gunfight
Published Friday, April 24, 2009 7:40PM EDT
The first person convicted in the 2005 Boxing Day shooting death of a Toronto teenager has been handed a life sentence with no chance of parole for another three years and eight months.
Jorrell Simpson-Rowe, a 21-year-old who was previously unidentified beacuse he was a Young Offender at the time of the shooting death of Jane Creba, was sentenced as an adult in a Toronto court on Friday morning.
"The events of Boxing Day 2005 have become a seminal event in the history of the city of Toronto, a touchstone against which all subsequent events of gun violence in this city are measured," Justice Ian Nordheimer said Friday.
The judge allowed media to publicly identify Simpson-Rowe for the first time on Friday.
Toronto Police Det.-Sgt. Savas Kyriacou said he contacted the Creba family on Friday to notify them about Simpson-Rowe's sentence.
Kyriacou said the family expressed their "satisfaction" with the result.
Nordheimer's sentence ruled Simpson-Rowe will not be eligible for parole for seven years, but because of the time he has served, he can try for parole in three years and eight months.
Last December, Simpson-Rowe was convicted of second-degree murder in Creba's killing, nearly three years after she was killed.
Two groups of young men began firing at one another outside of a Foot Locker when the shooting began on Dec. 26, 2005.
The 15-year-old Creba, an innocent bystander, died after being hit by gunfire near the intersection of Yonge and Gould Streets.
Six other bystanders were shot in the melee, but Creba was the only person killed.
Simpson-Rowe was picked up by police at a subway station blocks away from the shooting about 40 minutes after the gunfight.
Police found a 9mm Ruger semi-automatic handgun on J.S.R. that was forensically linked to the scene of the gunfight.
While the Crown did not accuse of Simpson-Rowe of firing the shot that killed Creba, he was still able to be convicted with murder because the jury was convinced he was involved in the gunfight.
The defence argued Simpson-Rowe was near the scene of the shooting, but did not fire any shots.
It was suggested that Simpson-Rowe was handed the gun in the aftermath of the shooting.
In December, defence lawyer Gary Grill said he would "obviously appeal" the decision.
A psychiatrist who interviewed J.S.R. for a pre-sentencing report said he is at high risk of reoffending.
His detention centres have reported that he continued his education while in custody, has attended counselling and Bible study sessions, and had improved over the past year.
But the Crown has said he is an angry young man with a history of "persistent rage" and an "explosive" temper.
Teachers had concerns about Simpson-Rowe's behaviour since he was in Grade 1, and by the end of his time in elementary school, he had been suspended from school 30 times in four years.
On Friday, Nordheimer said he was not "unsympathetic" to Simpson-Rowe's difficult past, but said the convicted Toronto man took the "wrong easy way over the right hard way."
Eight other people face charges in Creba's death who have yet to face trial.
Seven adult men are scheduled to go on trial in September.
A young offender had a court date in December, but his trial date has not been set.
A ninth suspect was picked up in England last month. Extradition proceedings are underway and police say he will face a manslaughter charge.
With files from The Canadian Press