Manitoba mother says young woman's life was stolen by man in meth-fuelled stabbing
Published Tuesday, April 20, 2021 11:30AM CST Last Updated Tuesday, April 20, 2021 2:44PM CST
The RCMP investigation scene on Tuesday, Oct. 3, 2017 (Photo: Beth Macdonell/CTV News)
WINNIPEG -- The mother of a young Manitoba woman who was stabbed to death in a random meth-fuelled attack says her daughter's life was stolen just as it was beginning.
Brittany Bung, 19, graduated high school a few months before she was killed in 2017 during a brutal and violent encounter with Jordan Belyk.
"She had a heart of gold and was a kind, caring, passionate girl," LeeAnn Bung said in a victim impact statement read by a Crown prosecutor during a sentencing hearing in Winnipeg on Tuesday.
"Thinking of what she went through tears us apart."
Belyk, 24, was convicted of manslaughter earlier this year.
Justice Joan McKelvey found that Belyk was in the throes of methamphetamine-induced psychosis when he attacked Bung which prevented him from having the criminal intent to be convicted of second-degree murder.
Crown prosecutors are asking for between 12 to 15 years behind bars, while the defence has recommended eight years. McKelvey reserved her decision until May 11.
Court heard Bung worked in a restaurant in Lac du Bonnet, about 90 kilometres northeast of Winnipeg. She was excited to enrol in culinary school and dreamed of opening a cafe.
Bung was stopped at the town's gas station on her way to work that October morning when she ran into Belyk.
Court heard he had been awake for days. He was not wearing a shirt and was acting erratically with gas station staff and customers before he jumped into Bung's vehicle and told her to drive.
The two didn't know each other, court heard.
After driving a short distance, court heard Belyk began to stab Bung multiple times in the face, neck and chest. She had defence wounds all over her hands.
While Bung was able to get out of the vehicle and call 911, she died a short time later on the way to hospital.
"(We've been) given a life sentence of pain," her mother's statement said. "Her right to life was taken from her."
Belyk told court he understands that his struggle with addiction resulted in the death of an innocent person.
"I'm truly sorry," he said.
Defence lawyers told court that Belyk doesn't expect forgiveness because he knows the grief that comes with a tragic death. His mother was murdered.
Saul Simmonds said his client's life was a "perfect storm."
Belyk is Indigenous and his family suffered from the impacts of colonization. His father was absent and his mother and grandmother struggled with addictions.
He has also been diagnosed with fetal alcohol spectrum disorder.
Court heard that Belyk experienced violence as a child and was introduced to drugs and alcohol at a young age. He was eventually removed from his biological family and placed with a foster family, although he continued to have contact with his mother.
When he was about 12 years old, his mother was murdered and it caused him to spiral into trouble and addiction.
Belyk began using drugs every day, his lawyer said.
Simmonds said his client has a strong sense of "guilt, shame and remorse" for taking a life. He has been taking his sobriety seriously since his arrest, the lawyer added.
Prosecutors argued Belyk will remain a significant risk to reoffend and must serve a longer sentence.
Belyk had received a suspended sentence for an assault in Winnipeg and was placed on probation a week before he killed Bung.
Prosecutor Danielle Simard said despite acknowledging his addiction issues before that court, he went to the small Manitoba town and began using methamphetamine immediately after his release.
"He was essentially a ticking time bomb in Lac du Bonnet."
This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 20, 2021