The family of Joey Whalen says they understand the court was limited in what it could do regarding the sentence for the man responsible for his death.
Following the handing down of the six-year sentence this morning to Kenny Green for manslaughter in the death of Joey Whalen, Whalen’s family spoke to reporters.
Whalen’s daughter Brittany Hammond said the explanation given by Justice William Goodridge regarding the acceptance of a plea bargain and a joint submission on sentence made sense, but it does little to console Whalen’s loved ones.
She said it’s now time to put the judicial process behind them.
Hammond said her family will remember her father differently than the way he was portrayed in court.
According to the facts presented to the court, Whalen sold drugs for Green out of a house on Tessier Place in St. John’s.
In March 2013, Green paid a visit to the house where he and Whalen got into a fight.
Whalen ended up on the floor as Green continued to strike him.
Green said he thought Whalen was going to rip him off and that he thought Whalen had a knife.
The victim was taken to hospital but died from his injuries four days later.
Green had originally been charged with second-degree murder but pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
The judge said today there were several considerations by the Crown when it decided to accept the plea bargain.
Goodridge said there was a possibility the Crown would not get a conviction for second-degree murder and the risk existed that Green could walk away a free man.
He said neither the plea nor the joint submission on sentencing questions the administration of justice.
Reviewing case law, sentences for manslaughter in similar situations ranged from four to 11 years.
Kenny Green sentenced to six years less time served for manslaughter
Kenny Green was sentenced to six years less time served today at Newfoundland Supreme Court in St. John’s for manslaughter in the death of Joey Whalen.
Justice William Goordridge said manslaughter would have been the probable outcome of a trial. He says the sentence may seem low, but not in this case.
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Whalen, 47, died March 17, 2013, from blunt force trauma to the head. It happened four days earlier at a notorious drug house on Tessier Place in the downtown area of St. John’s.
Green, 35, had been charged with second-degree murder but more than a week ago, just as his trial was set to begin and the jury was ready to enter the courtroom, he pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
In Newfoundland Supreme Court last Friday, lawyers presented an agreed recommendation on sentencing for Kenny Green — six years, less time served.
Goodridge said plea bargain and joint submission on sentencing was reasonable due to uncertainties in the Crown's case. Goodridge said he knows the compromise doesn't console Joey Whalen's family, but no sentence would.
With a total of 578 days' credit for pre-trial custody, it would leave four years and five months on Green’s term. And, in federal institutions, offenders can apply for parole after one-third of their sentences are served.
Among the facts of the case presented in court, Joey Whalen had suffered multiple blows to his head and body, resulting in lacerations to his forehead, scalp, lips, chin, eyelids and ear. (Lacerations in the agreed statement of facts are described as occurring when tissue is twisted and ripped, resulting in a more irregular tear than a sharp or incised cut to the tissue).
He was also covered in bruises and abrasions and had three fractured ribs.
Green admitted he fought Whalen because he thought Whalen — who had sold drugs for him in the past — was going to "rip him off" and he saw a shiny object on Whalen and thought Whalen was going to “take him out.” In the agreed statement of facts, Green admits he struck Whalen several times with his fists, and that the force he used was excessive and unreasonable.