Friday, January 31, 1997

Canadian Press

p. A19.

Killers' sentencing fuels native protest

REGINA -- Pamela George's weeping relatives fled the courtroom yesterday after a judge sentenced the aboriginal woman's two white killers to 6 1/2 years in prison.

Many of the overflowing courtroom complained the sentence given to university students Alex Ternowetsky and Steven Kummerfield for manslaughter was too short and hinted racism. The two, both 20, were originally charged with firt-degree murder, but were found guilty of the lesser charge by a jury late last year.

Aboriginal leaders said that was because they were white and come from well-to-do families.

Women's groups complained the court judged George more harshly than the men because of her gender and the fact she was a prostitute.

"It's all right for ... little white boys to go out on the streets, get drunk and use that for an excuse to start hunting down our people," said Tony Cote of the Yorkton Tribal Council in Saskatchewan.

Chief Lindsay Kaye of the Sakimay First Nations demanded an inquiry. "There is a justice system for the Indians, a justice system for the white."

Ternowetsky and Kummerfield picked up George, an occasional prostitute, in Regina in April 1995 after an evening of heavy drinking.

They took the 28-year-old mother of two outside the city for sex, then beat her so badly her family couldn't look into the casket at her funeral.

The Crown has already appealed the manslaughter finding.

Justice Ted Malone angered many when he charged the jury it would be dangerous to convict the men of first-degree murder and reminded them George was a hooker.

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Created: January 31, 1997
Last modified: July 2, 1997

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