THUNDER BAY — As the trial for a Thunder Bay man accused in the 2017 death of Barbara Kentner nears, two of her sisters say they are looking forward to the legal proceedings finally coming to an end.
“She’s been dead for three years now,” Melissa Kentner, 40, said on Thursday, Oct. 29. “I just want it to be over and done with.”
The trial for Brayden Bushby, the man accused in her death, is scheduled to take place on Monday, Nov. 2 in Thunder Bay.
It is alleged on the night of Jan. 28, 2017, Bushby, then 18, threw a metal trailer hitch from a moving vehicle that struck Barbara in the abdomen while she was walking in the Cameron Street area. In July 2017, Barbara died in hospital at the age of 34.
Bushby was to stand trial for second-degree murder in front of a judge and jury in October but at a Sept. 11 case conference, nearly a month before the trial was set to begin, the Crown’s office announced a new indictment against Bushby charging him with one count of manslaughter and one count of aggravated assault.
Barbara’s sisters, Melissa, and Connie, 36, said they were angry when they found out.
“I was pissed off, anybody would be pissed off,” Melissa said.
The chief of Wabigoon Lake Ojibway First Nation, the home territory of the Kentners, expressed outrage over the Crown’s decision to file the manslaughter charge stating Kentner’s death came at a time when the city of Thunder Bay was under scrutiny for systemic racism.
Both sisters plan to be at the trial every day which is expected to last four days.
“I am just happy it’s proceeding,” Melissa said. “I wasn’t able to hear the preliminary (hearing) so I want to hear it all.”
Barbara’s only daughter, Serena, also wanted to attend the trial but won’t be able to as she is undergoing treatment for Leukemia in southern Ontario.
“She is in Ottawa for a bone marrow transplant and she will be there for four months,” Melissa said. “She wanted to be here.”
Melissa and Connie say they talk to their niece every day to support her while she goes through chemotherapy. At times, they say she mentions her mom and how much she misses her cooking, especially her mash potatoes and cheese. They also remember their own memories with Barbara when they were younger.
“We used to play around in the park…and where the courthouse is now there used to be a bus terminal and we used to hang out there with our friends,” Connie said.
The two sisters say they have received a lot of support from people all over the country which makes them feel at ease but say nothing can bring their sister back.
“There is a lot of things I want, but I know I am not going to get it,” Melissa said.
Both Melissa and Connie admit they are nervous for the outcome of the trial but are hoping for justice for their sister.
When asked if either sister had anything to say to the man accused in their sister’s death, Melissa said she had nothing to say.
“What I want to say to him I can’t say so I would rather keep it to myself,” she said.
Two billboards have been put up in the city of Thunder Bay, calling for justice for their sister with a photo of Barbara smiling.
Both women say they remember when the photo was taken.
“We were having fun,” Melissa said, with a laugh. “That’s Barb.”
Karen Edwards, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Thunder Bay Source