Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik August 16, 2007 - 3:00 pm

Quest for booze led to deadly attack on Kuujjuaq accounting clerk

Hockey stick killer has 'no regrets, nothing...'

JANE GEORGE

Now a convicted murderer for a killing he took part in at the age of 19, Joey Partridge of Kuujjuaq asked to address the court last week just before Superior Court Judge Jacques Viens sentenced him to life imprisonment with no possibility of parole for at least nine and a half years.

"He said if it hadn't been for the alcohol it wouldn't have occurred," said Partridge's lawyer, Angela Tommasel. "He was very emotional."

Partridge, along with Bobby "Teelu" Snowball Jr and Thomassie Koneak have all been jailed for the roles they played in the brutal killing of Claude Bourget, a Kuujjuaq accounting clerk, on Feb 2, 2005.

Bourget, 50, died from injuries received during a severe beating, which included a hockey stick thrust into his rectum. 

Partridge, who pleaded guilty to second-degree murder, said he regretted his role in the crime and expressed remorse for the pain he caused Bourget's family.

Snowball Jr. , also convicted of second-degree murder, only told the court that he had "no regrets, nothing" - "just those three words," Tommasel said.

Viens sentenced Partridge and Snowball at end of an hour-long hearing held Tuesday, Aug. 7 in Amos, Quebec.

Snowball Jr. was 22 and Partridge only 19 when they, along with Koneak, 24, were 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.

Earlier this year in Puvirnituq, Viens sentenced Koneak to seven years for manslaughter, with credit given for time spent in preventive custody while awaiting trial.

Koneak only hit Bourget once to see if he was moving after the attack was finished.

"We couldn't establish without a reasonable doubt that he had participated in the murder," Crown prosecutor Thierry Poidvin said.

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 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.

This means Partridge will be eligible for parole in 2017, and Snowball Jr. in 2020. Snowball Jr. had no lawyer to represent him when he appeared in court.

Incorrect information appeared in last week's newspaper about the pleas and length of the sentences for Snowball Jr. and Partridge.

Thomassel said Snowball Jr.'s longer sentence was due to the greater role that he played in the killing of Bourget.

She said Partridge, who did not know he was going to end up at Bourget's house on the night of the murder, did not play a leading part in the murder.

Poidvin read a statement of facts in court case before Partridge and Snowball entered their guilty pleases.

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.

"We never were able to determine that they had a plan in arriving there to assault Mr. Bourget and commit a robbery, but as soon as Snowball starting hitting him, the others entered, and Koneak started looking in the rooms for alcohol. Partridge sometimes helped Koneak and sometimes helped Snowball hold down Mr. Bourget when he hit him," Poidvin said.

The motive for the assault was hard to determine, Poidvin said, but apparently the trio wanted "cheap - or free - alcohol."

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

"The hockey stick was put into his anus several times in a rather violent way. But it wasn't a cause of death," Poidvin said.

Police investigators, doctors who examined Bourget's battered body, and DNA traces provided most of the evidence, which was presented in court earlier this year when Koneak's sentencing was heard in Puvirnituq.

Poidvin is happy to see the three cases end.

"We're happy these cases finished, even if it took two years. I think Kuujjuaq can now turn over a new leaf."

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