R v Overby, 2019 MBQB 102

Due to the violent nature of the offence and lack of mitigating factors, the Indigenous offender, convicted of second degree murder, is sentenced to life in prison with no possibility of parole for 15 years.

Indigenous Law Centre
Indigenous CaseWatch Blog

Mr. Overby, an Indigenous man, has been found guilty of second-degree murder for the brutal killing of Christine Wood, a young Indigenous woman he had met on a dating app the same day he had murdered her. After engaging in sexual relations, he proceeded to murder her in the basement of his house. After the killing, he attempted to cover up the murder, until Ms. Wood’s body was found months later by chance.

The Gladue report submitted for Mr. Overby does not highlight any mitigating factors for the offender. He had an unremarkable childhood and the violence committed was considered “out of character”. The Court does not accept his version of events, including having no memory of what occurred.

In considering an appropriate parole ineligibility period, the Court must keep in mind that it must not be less than 10 years or more than 25 years according to s 745(b) of the Criminal Code. Balancing various caselaw with the sentencing principles, the aggravating factors that surrounded Ms. Wood’s unfortunate and violent death, required a more stringent parole ineligibility period (R v Shropshire, [1995] 4 SCR 227).

There were minimal mitigating factors other than the fact that alcohol was consumed by both parties and that Mr. Overby may have been depressed about his relationship situation. At the time of the offence, Mr. Overby had no criminal record at the age of 29 but his moral culpability in this case is very high. 15 years of parole ineligibility is deemed appropriate, but regardless, he remains under the supervision and control of correctional authorities for the rest of his life, including being subject to re-incarceration from parole should he breach any conditions or pose a threat to public safety.

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