Man gets 12 years behind bars after 'brutal beating' death of Selena Keeper

A man accused of beating his girlfriend to death 2½ years ago has been sentenced to more than a decade behind bars.

Court heard Selena Rose Keeper, 20, suffered two brutal beatings after a night of drinking in October 2015. She was found seriously injured in a yard on Flora Avenue on Oct. 8, 2015. She was rushed to hospital where she died of her injuries.

Police arrested William Ray Everett, 20, and charged him with second-degree murder. Everett, who had a child with Keeper, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in court Monday.

Judge Tracey Lord accepted the guilty plea.

Lord described Everett's attack on Keeper as a "prolonged and brutal beating." Many injuries were inflicted that not only contributed to her death but would have caused great pain, Lord added.

The recommended sentence for Everett was 12 years. He has been in custody since he was arrested in the fall of 2015. With the time he has already served, Everett will serve just under 10 years in prison.

Everett's lawyer Theodore Mariash called the sentence "significant, bearing in mind he's a young man."

"But on the flip side of that, the assault leading to her death was not a minor thing. It wasn't a minor assault," Mariash said.

Several members of Keeper's family were in court for the ruling but declined to comment on the outcome.

Protection order

The spring before her death, Keeper had filed a protection order against Everett alleging he had gang ties and "access to weapons." 

Keeper wrote in the application that she was afraid of Everett and feared what might happen if the two ever came across each other in public.

Keeper described being choked, punched, slapped and kicked on several occasions during a two-year period that included her pregnancy.

In response to the application question "I need protection on an urgent basis because," Keeper wrote "I want to keep Ray away from me."

Her application was dismissed one day after it was filed and it still isn't clear why.

Hours before beating

On Monday, court heard a detailed account of the hours leading up to Keeper's death.

At the time, Everett was living with his aunt in a home on Flora Avenue and had another relative who lived a few doors down on the same street.

On the night of Oct. 7, 2015, Keeper was drinking with Everett at his relative's house. Everett also admitted to being under the influence of marijuana.

After his relative went to bed around 2 a.m., Keeper and Everett continued drinking and a fight broke out.

At about 3 a.m., Everett's relative woke up to banging on the wall and the sound of Keeper yelling and crying. Court heard the relative woke up and saw blood pouring from Keeper's face and Everett's bloodied knuckles.

The pair soon left but Keeper eventually returned with Everett in pursuit. Everett's relative witnessed him kicking and punching Keeper outside the door of the home, court heard Monday.

Everett "blacked out," his lawyer told court, and awoke a few hours later at his aunt's house. He and his aunt found Keeper unconscious on a mattress in the garage and called 911. Keeper was admitted to hospital just after 8 a.m. Oct. 8 and later died.

History in care

Medical examinations showed she was hit 12 times and injuries she sustained to the head and face ultimately contributed to her death.

Court heard Everett is from Long Plain First Nation and has struggled with drug and alcohol abuse.

He was seized by Manitoba Child and Family Services at the age of four and came from a home where violence and alcohol abuse were the norm, his lawyer said.

Everett had a youth criminal record and was transferred to at least seven foster homes over the years. He also lives with fetal alcohol syndrome, his lawyer said, which influences his behaviour.

Mariash said his client is sorry and interested in accessing counselling treatment in prison.