Parents of slain Winnipeg teen forgive men responsible in son's home invasion death
The parents of a Winnipeg teenager killed in a home invasion fought through tears in court calling for justice while showing compassion to two men responsible for their son’s death.
Jaime Adao Jr., 17, died after being fatally stabbed when two men broke into his family’s home in March 2019.
“Justice for Jimboy means a lifetime sentence in prison,” Jaime Adao Sr., the boy’s father, told Court of Queen’s Bench Chief Justice Glenn Joyal Friday morning.
Ronald Bruce Chubb, 31, previously pleaded guilty to second-degree murder. Geordie Delmar James, 36, who broke into the home with Chubb, pleaded guilty to manslaughter.
Joyal accepted a joint recommendation from Crown and defence lawyers for both men.
Chubb, who the court heard was highly intoxicated during the incident, was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years. James received a sentence of five years for manslaughter.
Imelda Adao told the court she still can’t comprehend what happened to her son.
“Our child did not do anything except stay put in his own home,” Imelda said in her victim impact statement while fighting through tears.
The Adao family told reporters outside court they feel for the two men, who court heard both had difficult childhoods.
“When I heard their story, I feel so sorry for them also,” Imelda said. “If they feel love since their childhood, they’re not going to do such things like that in their life.”
She hopes no other family will have to experience the pain felt by her and her husband.
“It’s haunting us. It will be forever. There’s no cure for this,” Imelda said. “In just a flash, they took it away.”
Court heard around 8:45 p.m. on Mar. 3, 2019 surveillance video from a nearby beer vendor captured Chubb and James entering the backyard of the Adao’s West End home.
Adao Jr., a Grade 12 student at Tec Voc High School, was upstairs with his grandma.
The teen heard loud banging downstairs and called 911.
Court heard James forced open the back door and both men went inside.
According to an agreed statement of facts previously read out in court:
“Chubb, armed with a ‘Deli Pro’ kitchen knife with a 7 ¼ inch serrated blade, attended to the second floor where Adao was in his room and [his grandma] was sleeping in her bedroom.
Once upstairs, Chubb became involved in a struggle with Adao. The sounds of the struggle were caught on the 911 call.”
Adao was stabbed multiple times in the struggle and died. He suffered several sharp force injuries, including a deep wound to his back.
Court heard police officers arriving at the home heard the struggle and saw Chubb upstairs with a knife and demanded he put it down. He refused and police shot Chubb.
Court heard James wasn’t directly involved in the struggle. The Crown previously told Chief Justice Joyal manslaughter is the appropriate offence for James because when he broke into the home with Chubb, the lights were on and there was foreseeability of bodily harm.
Chubb was on probation at the time and wasn’t supposed to be in possession of a weapon.
“Jaime was just a child,” Crown attorney Vanessa Gama told court. “He was 17 years of age and this offence took place in his home, a place where the court has over and over put many safeguards recognizing the sanctity of a person’s home.
“The idea of someone breaking into a home while we are there is many people’s worst nightmare. It’s what horror movies are made of.”
Court heard Chubb was highly intoxicated at the time of the offence, has a low IQ and lives with cognitive issues.
James admitted he had been using crystal meth the night of the offence.
Joyal told court in a case like this it’s not perfect justice but hopes it brings some closure to the family, community and two accused.
“The public has to understand, I say this as presiding judge in this case, as difficult and as seemingly inadequate these sentences seem they are in the criminal justice system in which we work reasonable resolutions to a very tragic situation,” Joyal said in court.
Both Chubb and James are originally from God’s Lake Narrows, a First Nation community in northern Manitoba.
Court heard they each experienced trauma, violence and were exposed to alcohol abuse during their childhood. Chubb was just 13 when his older brother was murdered in front of him in Winnipeg after they were both jumped in a back lane.
Adao was in his final year of high school and dreamed of one day taking over the family’s bakery – a dream court heard was shattered in a flash.
The Adaos' said they’re still struggling to continue their lives without their son.
“We have to face now the reality that he’s no longer with us,” Imelda said. “They cannot bring back the life of our son even though they showed the remorse.”
By pleading guilty, Chubb waived his right to potentially advance a partial defence surrounding his state of mind for murder. If accepted it could’ve resulted in a conviction of manslaughter.
The guilty pleas also spared the family a trial where the 911 call their son made, which the Crown described as chilling, likely would have been played as evidence – something court heard the family didn’t want to hear.
Both men apologized to the family in court. Chubb, through his lawyer, said he struggles every day knowing he has caused the loss of the Adaos’ son.
“Mr. Chubb wants to ensure the court and the victim’s family know he’s very sorry for his actions,” Chubb’s lawyer Crystal Antila told court. “He would take them all back if he could.”
James told court he didn’t know “that was going to happen” when he and Chubb broke into the home.
“I apologize to the family who lost their son,” James told court. “I feel terrible...what happened.”
Lawyers told court the men’s acceptance of responsibility previously brought the Adao family to tears.