Family describes how woman's death from trailer hitch assault upended their lives

·1 min read

THUNDER BAY, Ont. — Relatives a woman who died after being assaulted with a trailer hitch say they've lost an irreplaceable loved one along with a sense of personal safety since her passing.

Statements from Barbara Kenter’s daughter and sisters were read today at a sentencing hearing for Brayden Bushby in a Thunder Bay court.

Bushby was found guilty of manslaughter last year, and a judge found he could have foreseen the fatal outcome of throwing a trailer hitch at Kentner from a moving vehicle.

In a statement read by a Crown attorney, Serena Kentner described how she struggled to keep up with her high school studies after her mother's assault and death in 2017.

She wrote that she's become depressed and has struggled through cancer treatment without her mother's support.

Barbara's sisters Melissa and Connie Kentner wrote that their family has moved out of Thunder Bay, Ont., due to threats and said they still fear for their security.

The judge-alone trial heard witness accounts of the January 2017 assault when Bushby threw the heavy metal trailer hitch from a moving vehicle, striking and injuring Barbara Kentner, who died in July 2017 at age 34.

The case drew criticism about how the justice system deals with Indigenous victims after Bushby's second-degree murder charge was downgraded to manslaughter and aggravated assault.

The trial heard the change was made because physical distancing restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic made a jury trial impossible in Thunder Bay.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 17, 2021.

The Canadian Press