Saturday, March 1, 1997

Barb Pacholik

Appeal launched

Sentencing instruction contested

Convicted killers Steve Kummerfield and Alex Ternowetsky are appealing a judge's order that will keep them in prison for at least half of their sentences.

"We hereby give you notice that we desire to appeal to the Court of Appeal, or judge thereof, for leave to appeal against our sentences," states a document filed by their lawyers Friday with the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal.

The only ground given in the notice of appeal is one taking issue with Justice Ted Malone's order that the 20-year-old men must serve at least half of their sentences before being eligible to apply for parole.

Offenders are usually eligible to seek full parole after serving one-third of their sentence. However, Malone used a special provision of the Criminal Code to delay their parole eligibility because of the "unusual violence, brutality and degradation."

According to the National Parole Board, the countdown begins from the day Kummerfield and Ternowetsky were convicted of manslaughter on Dec. 20, so they would be eligible to apply for full parole in the year 2000.

Defence lawyers Fred Kovack, who represents Kummerfield, and Aaron Fox, who represents Ternowetsky, couldn't be reached for comment Friday.

Kummerfield and Ternowetsky were sentenced on Jan. 30 to 61/2 years in prison for manslaughter in the death of Pamela Jean George. Because the men had been in jail since their arrests in May 1995, and most judges count pretrial custody as double time, the sentence is considered to be the equivalent of 10 years in prison.

Although the sentence was at the top end for manslaughter penalties in this province (the only person in Regina to have ever received more than 10 years has a previous manslaughter conviction), it sparked outrage from the victim's family and supporters who wanted a much stiffer penalty and a murder conviction.

In January, the Crown gave notice that it intends to appeal the jury's verdict.

Kummerfield and Ternowetsky were charged with first-degree murder in the beating death of George, a 28-year-old mother of two young girls. Her body was found April 18, 1995 at the side of a gravel road near the city's airport.

Hours earlier, she had been working as a prostitute in downtown Regina when she struck a deal with Kummerfield, who was driving his father's car. Unknown to George, Ternowetsky was hiding in the trunk. They drove her outside the city, had oral sex with her, then began to hit her. Neither man, who had been drinking heavily that night, could say why they hit George.

At the end of the six-week-long trial, the 11-member jury found them guilty of the lessor offence of manslaughter.

In its notice of appeal filed before the sentencing, the Crown lists 13 grounds for appeal taking issue with Malone's instructions to the jury.

No date has been set for either appeal hearing.

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Created: May 21, 1997
Last modified: July 2, 1997

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