Man gets heavy sentence for girlfriend's murder
Published Monday, July 27, 2009 7:56PM EDT
A Toronto man has been sentenced to life in prison without possibility of parole for 18 years in connection with the 2006 stabbing death of his girlfriend, a judgment that the dead girl's family supports wholeheartedly.
Arssei Hindessa had been convicted of second-degree murder. Parole eligibility in second-degree murder cases can range from a minimum of 10 years to a maximum of 25 years, the same as a first-degree murder conviction.
"The sentence that was handed down today sends a strong message that this crime -- and all violence against women, which is so pervasive in our society -- is being taken seriously. And it will no longer be tolerated by our society," said Dawn Novak, mother of murder victim Natalie Novak, on Monday outside court.
"I wanted to see if there was any blood in his veins," said Ed Novak, the victim's father. "He's not shown a moment's worth of remorse. Even in his sentencing, he stood blank as can be."
Hindessa, who is originally from Ethiopia, was found guilty of stabbing Natalie to death on May 15, 2006.
The 20-year-old Ryerson University student had been found dead in her apartment near Spadina Avenue and Dundas Street West.
Other residents reported hearing arguments and screams before the killing. They tried to enter her room, but failed. Police said Hindessa jumped from the suite's second-floor window, dropping about eight metres to the street below.
He was quickly arrested.
Police found Natalie with nine stab wounds to her chest and her throat slit.
Novak had been working towards a degree in hotel management studies.
Police said at the time there had been an "on-and-off, hot-cold" relationship between the victim and the accused. At the time of the killing, Hindessa was not supposed to be in contact with Novak due to previous domestic assaults.
Superior Court Justice Anne Malloy said the normal sentence range for a case in these circumstances is life in prison without parole for between 12 and 15 years.
However, aggravating factors in Hindessa's case, such as how he only appeared sorry for himself, pushed the sentence higher, she said.
The defence had tried arguing their client suffered from post-traumatic stress syndrome and depression linked to torture he suffered in a Nairobi, Kenya jail.
Defence lawyer Aston Hall said he will consider an appeal, noting the sentence is outside the normal range.
With a report from CTV Toronto's Dana Levenson