'Vile and disgusting:' Marissa Shephard handed 4-month sentence for spitting on jail guard

Accused murderer Marissa Shephard has been sentenced to four months in jail for assaulting a jail guard last summer by spitting in her face, an act the judge described as "vile and disgusting."

Shephard, 21, of Moncton, who is accused in the 2015 beating and stabbing death of Moncton teen Baylee Wylie, was sentenced by Judge Kenneth Oliver in Miramichi court on Thursday morning.

She had previously pleaded guilty on Feb. 20 to assaulting a correctional officer at the New Brunswick Women's Correctional Centre in Miramichi on July 28.

Crown prosecutor Bill Morrissy told the court the guard went to Shephard's cell that day at 7:16 a.m. because Shephard was biting her own arm and banging her head against the wall.

Two officers restrained her, while two other officers came to assist.

While Shephard was being escorted out of the cell, she spit at one of the guards, said Morrissy. The spit landed in the guard's left eye.

The guard rinsed her eye, then went to the hospital for a blood test to check for possible infection, he said.

After a two-week wait, she found out there was no infection, according to her victim impact statement.

Morrissy said although Shephard has no prior criminal record, the "crime is despicable by its very nature."

The Crown and defence made a joint recommendation for the four-month sentence.

Defence lawyer Simon Wood agreed four months would be appropriate.

'Unprovoked'

The judge asked Shephard if she had anything to say.

"No, your honour," replied Shephard, who was wearing a pink sweatshirt and a blue headband.

Oliver noted the attack was "unprovoked," and caused the guard "grave concerns," not knowing what was in the spit

The Crown called the act despicable.

"I'd go further and call it vile and disgusting," Oliver said.

He sentenced Shephard to four months in jail, consecutive to any other sentence.

Shephard showed no emotion as she was led out of the courtroom in shackles.

She has been in custody since March 1, 2016 on charges of first-degree murder and arson in connection with the death of Wylie.

​A preliminary inquiry in that matter is scheduled to start on May 1.

The body of Wylie, 18, was found on Dec. 17, 2015 in a burned-out triplex on Sumac Street in Moncton. He had been bound in plastic wrap, severely beaten while tied to a chair and stabbed up to 200 times.

Shephard was arrested on a Canada-wide warrant that had been issued for her and co-accused Tyler Noel.

Noel, 19, of Moncton, is also charged with first-degree murder and arson in Wylie's death and is scheduled to stand trial in October.

He is due back in Saint John court on March 31 to face a charge of escaping custody. He is accused of escaping from the Saint John Regional Correctional Centre on Feb. 10.

Devin Morningstar, 19, was sentenced in January to life in prison with no chance of parole for at least 25 years after a jury found him guilty of first-degree murder and arson in Wylie's death.