A 21-year-old Canadian woman, Cheyenne Rose Antoine of Saskatchewan pleaded guilty to manslaughter. She was convicted and sentenced to seven years in prison on Monday, after admitting to killing her best friend, 18-year-old Brittney Gargol in 2015.
Antoine accepted responsibility for strangling Gargol after getting into an argument with her during a night of drinking but added that she did not remember the incident that led to the strangulation or even her friend's death.
Gargol, who was discovered fatally injured on a road near the Saskatoon landfill in 2015. She was found unresponsive on the side of Valley Road, on the southern outskirts of Saskatoon. The man who found her said she was cold to the touch, had no shoes on and was lying on her back.
Crown prosecutor Robin Ritter said:
"There were never any signs of life detected. She was far too young when she was killed."
according to CBC News." data-reactid="39" style="-webkit-text-stroke-width:0px; background-color:transparent; color:#26282a; font-family:Helvetica Neue,Helvetica,Arial,sans-serif; font-size:15px; font-style:normal; font-variant:normal; font-weight:400; letter-spacing:normal; margin-bottom:15px; margin-left:0px; margin-right:0px; margin-top:0px; orphans:2; text-align:left; text-decoration:none; text-indent:0px; text-transform:none; white-space:normal; word-spacing:0px" type="text">The police found a black belt next to Gargol's body, which had been dumped on the side of a road. She was taken to hospital where she later died.
Once they identified the victim as Gargol, the police went through her social-media accounts and came across a photo of Gargol and Antoine posted to Facebook six hours before Gargol's body was found. In the photo, Antoine was wearing what appeared to be the same black belt that was found at the crime scene.
"It's quite remarkable how the police developed this information," the crown prosecutor Robin Ritter told the court.
The police said Antoine initially tried to cover her tracks. Hours after Gargol was killed, Antoine posted to her friend's Facebook page:
"Where are you? Haven't heard from you. Hope you made it home safe."
She also lied about her whereabouts that night to the police. She told them that she had partied with Gargol the night of Gargol's death but had left early to see her uncle and that Gargol had left with an unknown man.
The police also reviewed security footage of the bars Antoine said she went to that night and found no trace of her there.
Ultimately, a tip led police to a witness, who said Antoine confessed to the killing that night.
After getting drunk, Antoine allegedly told the friend that she hit Gargol and strangled her. She showed up at her friend's house, and hysterically confessed to how she had hurt her friend.
"No doubt this young women has issues…and because of those issues she is dangerous," said Ritter.
Antoine was charged with second-degree murder and was due for a preliminary hearing but instead pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter in court Monday afternoon.
The victim's aunt, Jennifer Gargol, told the court how her niece's death had affected the family.
"Most days we can't stop thinking about Brittney, what happened that night, what she must have felt fighting for her life," she said. "You feel darkened in your own dark world … You robbed this world of someone who had a special gift."
Kristi Wickenhauser, Gargol's stepmother, said her young daughter, Gargol's sister, feels guilty if a day goes by that she doesn't think of Brittney.
She was five years old at the time of the killing.
"She knows the family would like an explanation, a reason, but unfortunately she can't provide that," said Lisa Watson, Antoine's lawyer.
Though she did not address the court directly, Antoine did issue a statement through her lawyer.
"I will never forgive myself. Nothing I say or do will ever bring her back. I am very, very sorry…It shouldn't have ever happened," she said.
Gargol was a student at Nutana Collegiate and was studying to obtain her Grade 12 diploma.
Source: CBC News