The mother of a slain 13-year-old girl felt no relief yesterday upon hearing a decision that an Edmonton woman will serve a life sentence for her part in the brutal rape and deadly beating.
“I’ll never have closure,” Peacha Atkinson told Metro yesterday.
Stephanie Bird, 22, one of five people charged in the April 2005 murder of Nina Courtepatte, was initially given a 12-year sentence after she was found guilty of a lesser charge of manslaughter.
The Supreme Court of Canada overturned the conviction last December and ruled the 22-year-old woman was guilty of first-degree murder.
Trial testimony suggested Bird struck the first blow and held Nina down during the rape.
Bird’s lawyer argued that she should be absolved of murder because she says she left the scene before the fatal beating began.
In a unanimous decision, the high court concluded there wasn’t enough evidence to show Bird, who was 17 at the time of the killing, had had a change of heart.
“She didn’t have a change of heart,” Atkinson said. “She has no remorse.”
Atkinson has sat through countless trials of those accused in her daughter’s murder. Two men were found guilty of first-degree murder, a then-teenage girl was found guilty of second-degree murder, and another man was acquitted.
Atkinson says never-ending court dates keep her daughter’s murder in the forefront of her mind, though she died almost five years ago.
“A day doesn’t go by where we don’t wonder where she’d be now,” Atkinson said. “She wanted to be famous: A model; an actress; a singer. She would have got there. She would have made it and made sure people recognized her.”
Bird, who was convicted as a young offender and sentenced as an adult, has been behind bars for five years and will be eligible to apply for parole in another five.