A night of drinking and drugs turned into a night of murder and fire in North Central Regina last year.
More details surfaced in the death of Ray Yacevitch, 53, on Friday as the mother and daughter accused, Rosalyn, 53, and Sarah, 23, Wilm, pleaded guilty and were sentenced.
Court heard that Sarah and Yacevitch were living in Rosalyn’s home on 1450 Wascana Street in March 2014.
They were all drinking and doing drugs together, when Yacevitch began groping Sarah’s crotch. She told him to stop and then pushed him. This led to a fight which ended up with Yacevitch on top of Sarah on the kitchen floor.
That’s when Rosalyn hit him in the head with a hammer. There was some disagreement over how many times he was hit, but Sarah admitted to hitting him with the hammer as well.
The two dragged his body to the basement and pushed him down the stairs. Then, scared and intoxicated, they went to clean up his blood in the kitchen.
Brian and Lawrence Gordon soon arrived at the house, and saw Sarah cleaning up.
Shortly thereafter Yacevitch was carried up from the basement and put on a bed in one of the rooms.
Then Sarah, Rosalyn, and Lawrence left. The house was set on fire. According to the coroner, Yacevitch was still alive when the fire started around him, though it didn’t contribute to his death. It was determined that there were at least 51 blunt force impacts to the skull, which is what killed him. Eight stab wounds to his body that were found may have contributed.
Fire crews arrived soon after to deal with the blaze. When they got into the house they found Yacevitch’s body, and moved it outside. It was found that 93 per cent of his body had burns, and his blood alcohol level was .289.
Brian Lawrence originally pled guilty to obstruction of justice and arson, but is attempting to have that expunged so he can be tried in Court of Queen’s Bench.
A few days after the blaze police officially called Yacevitch’s death a murder, and they were looking for Sarah and Rosalyn.
Just over a week later the two were arrested on the Cote First Nation, and charged with second degree murder.
Since then, they’ve been in police custody, going through the court system.
On Friday, with the Crown’s permission, the two pleaded guilty to a lesser charge of manslaughter.
“When they were originally charged there were questions of what actually happened inside the house, and I think as soon as it became known what went on inside the house, I think the picture became clearer,” explained Jeff Deagle, Sarah’s defense lawyer.
They were both quiet during the proceedings, sitting next to each other in the prisoner box. Sarah occasionally looked down to her lap as the trial turned to her.
The defense lawyers went through both women’s lives, which involved missing parents, relationships gone sour, and alcohol. The lawyers explained Rosalyn had lived on the street for a while, and that she had been raised by adoptive parents. They explained that Sarah had been raised by her grandparents, had two children, but had managed to get her Grade-12 just a few years ago.
In her decision, the judge called it another “senseless death” as a result of alcohol addiction. She explained that Rosalyn had only one previous conviction from decades ago, and has been a productive member of society at times. As for Sarah, the judge said that while she has six previous convictions, she spent no time in custody before this charge.
Both Wilms said they would be working on their addictions while serving their sentenced.
In court Sarah said, “I’m sorry for what happened, and I’m going to do what I can to better myself.”
When asked if she had anything to say, Rosalyn paused for a moment then said quietly, “I wish none of this had happened.”
The judge accepted the joint submission, from the Crown and defense, of eight and a half years. But the two had spent 16 months in custody, for which the judge gave them a 1.5 credit. The mother and daughter will spend the next six and a half years in jail.