10 a.m., Oct. 2)
Yellowknife man responsible for 2013 beating death of Emerson
Curran gets five-year sentence
By Fred Sherwin
man responsible for the 2013 beating death of Orléans
resident Emerson Curran at a house party in Yellowknife
has been sentenced to five years in prison after pleading
guilty to manslaughter.
his tragic death at house party in Yellowknife, Emerson Curran
was an outstanding student and athlete at St. Peter High School
in Orléans. File photo
Bourque, 25, has been free on bail for the past two years
while awaiting sentencing.
Justice Karan Shaners decision in a Yellowknife
court on Oct. 1, Bourque was taken into custody with the
proviso from the judge that he should serve his sentence
in the NWT to allow him to remain close to his family.
who was 20 years old at the time of his death, had just
spent the summer working as a float plane dockhand for
a regional air carrier. He was scheduled to fly back to
Ottawa the following day when he made a last minute decision
to go to the party. While there, he was drawn into an
altercation by Bourque who punched him repeatedly, knocking
him off balance and causing him to fall. Curran hit his
head on the edge of a piano and suffered severe head trauma.
who was six inches taller and nearly 90 lbs. heavier than
Curran, continued to rain blows down on his victim while
fighting off attempts by others to get him to stop. When
the first responders arrived, Curran was unconscious and
had gone into cardiac arrest. He was transported to an
Edmonton hospital by air ambulance and later died from
his injuries. He never regained consciousness.
Shaner issued her sentence after hearing Emersons
mother and father read impact statements in which they
told the court how their sons death has affected
their lives and their family.
familys wounds will never heal, Michael Curran
told the court according to a report in the Yellowknife
News. Our lives will never return to normal."
he was pronounced dead, Currans organs including
his heart, lungs, liver, kidneys and pancreas, were donated
to five different recipients.
to local media reports, Bourque also addressed the court
saying that he was truly sorry for his actions which Justice
Shaner characterized as impulsive, stupid and violent.
five-year sentence was in line with the recommendations
of both the defence and the prosecution which asked for
five to five-and half years. With good behaviour Bourque
could be released on day parole after serving just 14
months, and he can apply for full parole after 20 months.
for his opinion on Bourques sentence outside the
court, Michael Curran told CBC North that he could not
comment on whether he thought it was appropriate or not.
hard for me to say if its a proper sentence,
Mr. Curran said. We dont have control over
don't think my wife and I think Roman is some sort of
monster, he went on to say. But at the same
time I think he was brutal. I think he was reckless, and
committed a very unnecessary act of extreme violence."
a separate statement released following the sentencing,
Mr. Curran shared his thoughts on the legal process surrounding
his sons case.
wife and I struggle to understand how it took about 770
days for someone to be incarcerated for committing a brutal
homicide in front of a room full of people, he wrote.
The length of the process took a great toll on us,
our family and friends. Except for one day in jail, Roman
Bourque has enjoyed 25 months of relative freedom since
committing an act of extreme violence.
when people in Yellowknife approach us to say theyve
wanted to see the perpetrator taken off the street for
months, you start to think the legal process is out of
step with the needs of the community. What message does
it send to the community when someone who commits a homicide
walks free for this long? Even after he pleads guilty,
he gets five and a half more months to walk free."
Curran also addressed the issue of closure in his statement.
sentence ends the criminal justice part of this process,
but it does not lessen the massive impact of this homicide
on our family and friends. And, to some extent, we move
from the criminal justice system to the corrections system.
None of this brings any closure for us. It closes one
door and opens another."
Curran was about to begin his third year studying philosophy
at the University of Ottawa when he was killed. He was
a graduate of St. Peter High School where he was a member
of the school football team and was a model employee at
the Innes Road Farm Boy store. He is survived by his mother
and father, and his siblings Liam, Graeme and Lauren.
memorial scholarship has been established in Emerson's
name at the University of Ottawa for a recipient who demonstrates
outstanding community service and/or leadership.
story was made possible thanks to the generous support
of our local business partners.)