Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik March 05, 2010 - 10:48 am

Co-accused in Kuujjuaq hockey stick rape-torture killing gets new trial

“You could see he never had the intent to kill”

JANE GEORGE

Joey Partridge, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in 2007, will get a new trial, unless he decides to plead guilty to manslaughter for his role in the brutal killing of Claude Bourget, a Kuujjuaq accounting clerk, on Feb 2, 2005.

Partridge, Bobby “Teelu” Snowball Jr and Thomassie Koneak were arrested for the role they played in the death of Claude Bourget, a Kativik Regional Government employee, on Feb 2, 2005.

Superior Court Judge Jacques Viens sentenced Partridge to life imprisonment on Aug. 7, 2007 with no possibility of parole for at least nine and a half years.

However, three judges in the Quebec court of appeal determined Feb. 23 that Partridge had the right to withdraw his guilty pleas because he didn’t realize he was pleading guilty to murder.

Partridge knew he was pleading guilty to “something,” his lawyer Clement Monterosso said in a telephone interview from Montreal.

Partridge never admitted having any intention of killing Bourget, 50, who died from injuries received during a severe beating, which included a hockey stick thrust into his rectum.

And to find someone guilty of murder, the Crown has to prove the “intent to kill,” Monterosso said.

Partridge, who was intoxicated on the night of the murder, had a “good defense of intoxication,” Monterosso said.

Within a week after he was sentenced to life in prison for second-degree murder, Partridge contacted Monterosso and started the appeal proceedings.

Monteresso said he was not surprised the appeal was successful because “you could see he never had the intent to kill.”

Montessoro said he would recommend Partridge seek a plea bargain with prosecutors on a manslaughter charge, which could result in six to seven year sentence.

Speaking to the court in 2007, Partridge said he regretted his role in the crime and expressed remorse for the pain he caused Bourget’s family.

Partridge,  who said did not know he was going to end up at Bourget’s house on the night of the murder, said that if it hadn’t been for his intoxicated state he wouldn’t have been involved.

Partridge was only 19 when he, along with Snowball Jr., 22, and Koneak, 24, were first charged with first-degree murder, forcible confinement, aggravated sexual assault causing injury and theft, after police found Bourget’s body.

An agreement between lawyers saw Partridge and Snowball Jr. each plead guilty to second-degree murder.

Under the criminal code, first-degree murder is planned and deliberate.

However, a person can be charged with first-degree murder even if the act wasn’t planned and deliberate when the victim is a police officer, a prison guard, or a similar person acting in the course of duty.

Second-degree murder is any murder that is not first degree. The penalty for second-degree murder is life imprisonment, but the judge may order that the accused is eligible for parole after serving a designated portion of the sentence between 10 and 25 years.

Partridge received a life sentence with no eligibility of parole for 12 years, minus a 30-month credit for the time served in preventive custody.

Snowball Jr. received a life sentence with no eligibility of parole for 15 years, minus a 30-month credit for time served.

A statement of facts was read in court before Partridge and Snowball entered their guilty pleas in 2007.

The statement said the three men had gone to Bourget’s house that night to find alcohol. As soon as Bourget opened the door, Snowball Jr. walked onto the porch and hit Bourget.

Bourget died from multiple blows to his head, face and body.

The hockey stick was rammed into his anus several times in a violent manner.

But it wasn’t a cause of death, prosecutors noted.

Koneak, who plead guilty to manslaughter in 2007, received a sentence of seven years in jail,  minus 42 months for the time spent in preventive custody.

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