WINNIPEG — A young Indigenous woman's mother has told a sentencing hearing that her life has been a nightmare since her daughter's fatal beating that was filmed and shared online.
"She was my only daughter and my best friend," Serena McKay's mother, Delores Daniels, told a Winnipeg court Monday. "I feel cheated because I never got to say goodbye to her."
McKay was 19 when she died. Her body was found on the Sagkeeng First Nation in April 2017. Two teenage girls, 16 and 17, were arrested after online videos showed McKay being brutally beaten.
The younger girl, who has since turned 17, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in January. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence of seven years in jail. The defence is arguing for a youth sentence of three years.
Crown attorney Jennifer Comack told court that the teen grew up with a supportive mother but decided to live on her own before McKay's death. She was drinking, doing drugs and skipping school.
"She was raised to know right from wrong, capable of knowing right from wrong, taught the difference — but she just didn't do it," Comack said.
McKay's family left the court room before two videos of the assault were played for the judge.
The teen held her head in her hands and started to cry softly as television screens showed McKay, with a bruised and beaten face, crying and begging for her attackers to stop.
Comack said the videos don't show an adolescent, but instead depict an "adult woman full of rage beating on a helpless victim."
Court has previously heard there were seven people at a party, including McKay and the two teen girls. There was a verbal fight over alcohol and McKay was kicked out of the party.
Not long after, Comack said, the teen helped attack McKay.
Court has heard McKay was left outside with debilitating injuries. She died of hypothermia.
Allan McKay, whose daughter was close friends with the victim, told court the death has affected children and parents alike. The young woman was kind, respectful and loving, he said.
"Her life was full of promise and potential. All of that is lost now," he said, breaking into tears.
Twenty-five people submitted victim impact statements. The judge will rule whether eight others — from people who did not know McKay but say they were affected by her death — are admissible.
Defence lawyer James Wood will then argue for a youth sentence.
The older girl, who has since turned 18 but can't be named because she was underage when the beating occurred, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in December and was received a youth sentence of just over three years in jail, followed by two years of community supervision.
The sentencing hearing is scheduled to continue on Tuesday.
Kelly Geraldine Malone, The Canadian Press