Shearer sentenced for manslaughter

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Candice Shearer was sentenced in BC Supreme Court Wednesday for the 2016 manslaughter of Anna Sheppard.

Shearer will now serve less than a year for Sheppard’s killing — 337 days in jail. The conviction was for six and half years in jail, but Shearer has four years of time served since the crime. She is expected to live in Pouce Coupe upon her release.

Justice James Williams noted Shearer is likely to reoffend unless she abstains from drugs and alcohol. Williams noted she expressed little responsibility for the killing, painting herself as the victim.

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“I have reservations with respect to the depth and quality to Mr. Shearer’s remorse,” said Williams. “She has some history of violence and volatility in her relationships, and does not manage her anger well.”

Shearer, born in 1986, was arrested after Sheppard was found dead in her 116th Avenue home the evening of Nov. 12, 2016. Representatives and family members of Sheppard and Shearer were on hand in Supreme Court in Dawson Creek to hear the sentence.

Shearer was acquitted of second-degree murder but found guilty of manslaughter, on the grounds that she suffers from mental illness, a history of violence, trauma, unemployment, and drug abuse.

The crown’s evidence failed to prove Shearer intended to kill Sheppard, court heard. A Gladue report was entered into the proceedings and was a major factor in deciding the sentence as Shearer is of aboriginal descent. 

Sheppard’s family members of the victim expressed outrage, calling Shearer a “monster” and citing the Gladue report as a perversion of justice.

Shearer appeared by video from the Prince George correctional centre, where she attends counseling for drugs and alcohol. Shearer only spoke to acknowledge that she understood the sentence being imposed.

Williams said mental health issues were a mitigating factor in the case.

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“However, I did not and do not conclude that mental illness was the significant factor causally linked to the death,” said Williams, reading from a psychiatric report. “Ms. Shearer has exhibited symptoms of mental illness, including psychotic symptoms, but those appear to substantially related to her substance abuse disorder.”

It’s known Shearer was a user of cocaine, meth, alcohol, and other opiates. 

A probation period will follow upon her release, with a mandatory a lifetime weapons ban, and a DNA order.

tsummer@ahnfsj.ca

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