Tetu sentence too lenient: victim’s mother

Michael Tetu was sentenced here Monday afternoon to jail for manslaughter in connection with the death of Deanna Daw on Oct. 29, but Daw’s mother, Patsy, isn’t satisfied justice has been done.
“We know he did the crime. We want him to do the time,” she said from her home yesterday afternoon.
“When the Crown Attorney made the deal that he does 12 years for killing my daughter, why didn’t he discuss it with the family? she wondered.
“They should have talked with us before they made the deal.”
Though the minimum sentence for manslaughter is five years, Justice Terrance Platana sentenced Tetu, 27, to 12 years, less two years for time already served.
Tetu also was sentenced to five more years in connection with his role in the hostage-taking incident at the Fort Frances Jail last June.
He is eligible for parole in five years.
While originally slated to stand trial for second-degree murder, a joint submission by Crown Attorney Robert “Buster” Young and defence lawyer Daniel Brodsky saw Justice Terrance Platana sentence Tetu on the reduced charge of manslaughter, to which he had pleaded guilty.
The grounds for the reduced charge were based on the fact there was no proof of Tetu’s intents in the fatal shooting Oct. 29, 2000 at a Burriss residence, which was preceded by several accounts of domestic conflict between Tetu and his common-law wife and bouts of drinking alcohol on Tetu’s part.
“I think he should have got more than he did,” said Patsy Daw, adding the family will oppose Tetu at the parole hearing he’s first eligible for in five years.
“There’s no doubt we will,” she stressed. “I don’t want him getting custody of the children and turning them against us.”
Those on hand for the sentencing Monday afternoon learned more of the circumstances surrounding the incident as Brodsky described the several days before the shooting, starting with a house party at the couple’s residence Oct. 27.
During the course of that party, at which the couple’s daughter, Kristina, who was four at the time, and infant son, William, were not present, the two had an argument, Tetu wrestled with some friends, and showed off a target pistol, for which he was registered and licensed to have.
The party wound down between 3-4 a.m., at which time Tetu passed out.
He got up around noon on the Saturday. Daw had picked up the children from the babysitter’s. The two argued about Tetu helping out with the housework, which he felt too tired to do. They then called it an early night as they were both tired.
On Sunday, Tetu got up around 9 a.m. Daw already was up and angry with Tetu for not helping her out with their infant son, who kept Daw up all night.
After breakfast, Daw laid down for a nap for about 15 minutes when her mother, Patsy, came over to visit. They talked for a while, then her mother left.
Immediately afterwards, Daw and Tetu got into another argument, during which they called each other names, and Tetu struck her in the shoulder blade.
He told her to pack her things and leave the house. She agreed.
He took the car to Dev-Lynne’s store in Devlin and purchased a case of 24 beer. He then returned home, where the pair did not talk.
Daw had packed some clothes and gathered the children, and went out to the car, leaving the house around 12:30 p.m. Tetu then spoke to his mother about Daw leaving, and told her he would need a ride to work the next morning. She agreed.
He then drank beer throughout the afternoon, only leaving the house to visit a neighbour for a couple beers in the early evening. He then returned home and proceeded to finish the case of beer.
Sometime before 9 p.m., Tetu and Daw had a brief phone exchange, when she agreed to come over and talk to him.
In the meantime, the family dog started barking and Tetu saw what he thought was a skunk. He went to a storage locker and got his handgun, taking off the trigger lock and then going outside to investigate.
Finding nothing, he went back in the house, but did not put the gun away as there were no children in the house.
He continued to drink and when he felt like he was passing out, gave Daw a call at her mother’s house and asked if they should wait until tomorrow to talk. She said she would be over right away.
Daw came back to the house with Kristina, who was sleeping and placed in her bed. Then, according to Tetu, Daw began yelling at him.
While his recollection of exactly what was said at this time was incomplete, she berated him as a husband, father, lover, accused him of cheating on her, and called him a “pathetic loser” whom no one else would have.
In Tetu’s affidavit, he reported Daw said something further to him that made him “very, very angry,” but did not have a specific recollection as to what it was.
“I believe that I blacked out that this time,” Tetu recalled. “I do not know why, but at that moment I stood up and grabbed the gun.”
A struggle may or may not have then ensued, at which time four shots were fired. Tetu only recalled one shot being fired.
“As I bent down to look at Deanna, I heard my daughter say, ‘Why are you shooting the gun in the house?’ I did not want Kristina to see what had happened, so I took her back to her room and closed the door.
“Then I took Deanna and placed her body in the bathroom and closed the door,” he said.
He then called his mother, Coreen, to get his daughter, and then called the police to report what he’d done. He was arrested by the OPP early on Oct. 30.
When Justice Platana asked Tetu if he had anything to say before being sentenced, he stood before the court and replied, “I suppose all I can say is I’m truly and sincerely sorry that this happened.”
It was after this account, Justice Platana went on to sentence Tetu, leaving with this final statement: “Beyond what I have said to you in court today, I couldn’t begin to describe the impact this has had on the families, and the two children, who are very close to you. 15 years. Good luck.”
Crown Attorney Young said the sentencing “went well” thanks to Tetu’s affidavit that he became privy to during the pre-trial process.
“In terms of considering whether it was second-degree murder or manslaughter, he was the only person who could tell us what happened, beyond the forensics and evidence I received from the police,” he noted.
“That’s what led to the clarification of the matter as manslaughter,” he added.
“We’re delighted his Honour realized his motivation in the context of the incident,” said Brodsky. “From the beginning, Mr. Tetu was worried about a trial in the jurisdiction where the crime occurred.
“But with the affidavit, we submitted it the Crown well in advance of the trial, and the Crown accepted it. We proved to his Honour this was about not running away and facing it fairly,” he added.
Besides the 10 years for manslaughter, Tetu also faces five years—to be served consecutively—for assault with a weapon and 15 years—to be served concurrently—for an additional charge of assault with a weapon and two counts of unlawful imprisonment stemming from the jail stand-off.
“This was really a very ill-conceived attempt to draw attention to your circumstances,” noted Justice Platana.
“I think you are very fortunate that no one was more seriously harmed, other than the emotional distress. But I have no idea why you would do what you did for pizza and cigarettes,” he added.
The sentence also indicated Tetu’s DNA will go on file, he is prohibited from owning firearms for the rest of his life, and the three firearms seized by police in their investigation will be forfeited to the Crown.
Three impact statements—one each from Daw’s parents, Patsy and Stuart, and one from an aunt, Bonnie Vanderhorst, were submitted to Justice Platana but were not read aloud in court Monday.