Crown in Thunder Bay trailer-hitch manslaughter case recommending 8-12 year sentence

·3 min read

THUNDER BAY — The prosecution in the case of a Thunder Bay man who threw a metal trailer hitch at a Wabigoon Lake Ojibway First Nation woman in 2017 is recommending a sentence between eight to 12 years of incarceration.

Barbara Kentner, a 34-year-old mother, died in July 2017 after suffering a perforated bowel as a result of being hit in the abdomen in January 2017.

A Superior court judge found Brayden Bushby, 21, guilty on one count of manslaughter in connection with Kentner’s death in December 2020 after a four-day trial.

On Wednesday, Feb. 17, crown lawyer Trevor Jukes announced they are seeking a custodial sentence between eight to 12 years for Bushby during sentencing submissions.

An autopsy report determined Kentner’s death was caused by complications arising from the blunt force injury to her abdomen. End-stage liver disease was also listed as a second significant cause of Kentner’s death however it was not related to the immediate cause, according to a post-mortem examination report.

Pathologist Toby Rose who conducted Kentner's autopsy described her as a chronically ill and seriously ill woman but despite her illness she would not have died when she did had she not been injured, according to her testimony.

Victim and community impact statements were read by crown counsel Andrew Sadler during the first half of sentencing submissions for Bushby on Wednesday.

“The death of my mother has affected me in many ways,” Serena, the surviving daughter of Kentner wrote in her victim impact statement.

Serena was still in high school when her mother’s health began to deteriorate after she was injured in 2017 and admitted into the hospital.

Eventually, she had to move back to Ontario and drop out of school in Grade 10 in order to be at her mom’s side.

“When my mom was killed, my grades fell,” Serena said. “Before that happened, I was part of a leadership program and I really enjoyed school.”

Serena was recently diagnosed with Leukemia and has been undergoing treatment in Ottawa for cancer, something that has been difficult to do without her mom by her side, she said.

“Every sick kid needs their mom. Talking to doctors is hard and my mom being gone is hard,” she wrote.

Kentner’s daughter stated after her mom’s death she has coped by turning to alcohol and marijuana.

“The substances made me not feel or think about what happened and that my mom was gone,” Serena said.

Kentner’s sisters, Connie and Melissa, also submitted impact statements describing how much they miss their sister’s smile and the joy she brought into their lives.

They wrote they both suffer from stress, anxiety and depression as a result of her death.

Kentner’s other sister, Cheryl, spoke of the impact Bushby’s actions have caused.

Bushby’s trial focused on the issue of causation and whether or not the injury Kentner sustained in January 2017 was a significant contributing factor to her death approximately five months later.

Kentner and her older sister, Melissa, had been walking alongside a residential road in Thunder Bay on Jan. 29, 2017 shortly after 1 a.m. when she was struck in the abdomen by a trailer hitch from a moving vehicle.

Kentner testified herself through a recorded video statement played by crown lawyers on the first day of the trial that the force of being hit knocked her to knees.

Manslaughter has no minimum penalty but has a maximum penalty of a life sentence.

Sentencing submissions continue.

This is a developing story. The story will be updated once defence makes their submissions.

Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source