Man sentenced for death of girlfriend who plummeted 11 storeys
Published Monday, April 16, 2012 6:34PM CST
A judge handed down a sentence Monday to a man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of his girlfriend.
Alinda Lahteenmaki, 23, died after plummeting 11 storeys from a suite on Assiniboine Avenue in Winnipeg in 2009.
The second-degree murder trial for her death was supposed to begin last week. Instead, the accused Mario Trunzo, 44, pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter with the defence striking a deal with the Crown.
Monday afternoon, a judge accepted the Crown and defence's joint recommendation of a six-and-a-half-year sentence for Trunzo.
The Crown struck a plea deal because persecutors said the case otherwise depended on two unreliable witnesses who were on drugs at the time of the incident and kept changing their stories.
Lawyers also said Lahteenmaki had 13 different kinds of drugs in her body when she died and only days before her death had checked herself out of a stabilization unit.
"They put my sister out there as a suicide and (said) she was a drug addict. And she wasn't - she was fighting it," said Linda Doucette, the victim's sister. The family said a letter written by Lahteenmaki showed she was looking forward to the future.
During the sentencing Monday, Trunzo broke into tears and apologized to the family, saying he didn't expect them to forgive him, but he wanted to say he was sorry.
"His tears and everything – it's a joke," said Darlina Moar-Lahteenmaki, the victim's mother.
"I don't believe in the justice system anymore and I never will," said Linda Doucette.
The family is determined to keep the 23-year-old's woman's memory alive.
"I'm not going to let Winnipeg or any city forget her. I will not do that," said Moar-Lahteenmaki.
With two-for-one credit given for time already served, Trunzo will have just under two years left in custody under the sentence. He must give a DNA sample and will be under a weapons ban, along with being banned from having contact with the victim's family.
- with a report from CTV's Stacey Ashley