Teen who pleaded guilty in shooting death of Lecent Ross sentenced to 6 more months

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Teen who pleaded guilty in shooting death of Lecent Ross sentenced to 6 more months

A 15-year-old who pleaded guilty to criminal negligence causing death in the 2015 fatal shooting of a teenage girl received a three-year sentence — but will only serve six more months in open custody. 

The teen, whose name cannot be released under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was initially charged with manslaughter in Lecent Ross's death.

He pleaded guilty in November, however, to criminal negligence causing death.

The judge delivered the maximum sentence for a youth convicted of that crime; the teen also received credit for the 18 months he served in custody before and during the trial.

Lecent died after she was shot with an illegal handgun inside a townhouse on Jamestown Crescent, near Kipling Avenue and Albion Road, in Rexdale on July 9, 2015.

Earlier Friday, Alicia Jasquith delivered a victim impact statement to the court, saying the day that her daughter's death marked the "worst day" of her life. Lecent left behind her parents and five siblings.

"The loss of my daughter has had a huge impact on my life and on the lives of Lecent's whole family," Jasquith said. 

"Every day, I am filled with sadness, anger, grief, and many other overwhelming emotions. I have lost the ability to be who I was when she was here." 

The grieving mother said she felt the sentence was too lenient, her pastor told reporters after the sentencing. 

"This kid needed help," Jamestown Pastor Keaton Austin said. "Almost six months they give him, then he'll come out and something'll happen again. Right, this kid needs help.

"The system failed Lecent and it's not right."

​Defence lawyer John Erickson said Friday that the girl's death was an accident. He said the girl visited the home of his client, the pair were alone in the boy's bedroom, and his client was holding a firearm that he didn't realize was loaded.

He was trying to move past Lecent when the firearm went off, the lawyer said.

"It discharged and killed her, by all accounts, almost instantly," Erickson said.

The teen had moved away from Jamestown Crescent to live with his grandmother. He later moved back the area to live with his mother; the Crown noted that the teen acquired a gun within two days of his return. 

Erickson told the court that the teen got the gun for protection. At the time of the charge, the boy was 13.

Younger brother, sister would cry

Lecent's death deeply affected her siblings, the mother said.

"After Lecent died, her little brother and sister would lock themselves in their room crying, and say they just want their sister to come back."

Troy Amos-Ross, Lecent's uncle, described his niece as a "bright, beautiful, kind-hearted person who enjoyed life to the fullest."

The girl lived with Amos-Ross and his family temporarily when she was younger.

"She maintained a positive energy that would radiate in any room she was in. Among a list of memories, Lecent will forever be known for her smile and her contagious laughter," he wrote in a victim impact statement. "In her presence, anyone who had the honour of knowing her would be reminded that despite the downfalls a person encounters, there's always a reason to stay positive."