Canada Woman pleads guilty to manslaughter in sister's stabbing death

07:20  07 december  2017
07:20  07 december  2017 Source:   Edmonton Journal

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112215-1lwBD3rP7I.jpg-41526067-1lwBD3rP7I-W.jpg: Facebook photo of Crystal Corrine Bruce, who died of a stab wound in her apartment on Nov. 21, 2015.© Supplied Facebook photo of Crystal Corrine Bruce, who died of a stab wound in her apartment on Nov. 21, 2015.

An Edmonton woman fatally stabbed her sister in the chest during an argument in 2015, court heard Wednesday.

Ashlee Dawn Bruce, 31, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of her older sister Crystal Corrine Bruce, 36, at a hearing in Court of Queen’s Bench on Wednesday.

Ashlee Bruce, who has remained in custody since her arrest in 2015, sat in the prisoner’s box during the hearing wearing a blazer and collared shirt. After entering her plea, the court vacated the dates set aside for a second-degree murder trial in February.

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Crystal Bruce was a camp cook and a mother of five, according to a neighbour who told the Journal in 2015 that she was a “nice person” and great with her kids.

According to an agreed statement of facts, on Nov. 21, 2015, both sisters were at Crystal Bruce’s northeast Edmonton apartment when two men arrived. All four people were drinking. In the late afternoon, Ashlee Bruce and one of the men were picked up by the man’s relative and taken for a drive out of the city and back. Along the way, both she and the man continued to drink Coke and vodka.

On the trip back to the apartment, just before 8 p.m., Ashlee Bruce became “angry and aggressive,” punching and kicking the man. He called 911 because of her behaviour, but hung up after reporting their location as “on the highway,” then dropped Ashlee Bruce off back at the apartment.

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In the building’s parking lot, she encountered a family of residents and yelled at them, chasing them as they went in the building and locked the building door. Ashlee Bruce kicked in the door, shattering the glass. She chased the family upstairs and began kicking their suite’s door. They called police and she returned to her sister’s apartment. Both sisters and the remaining male visitor were all intoxicated.

The sisters began to fight: Crystal Bruce punched Ashlee Bruce in the head and both women fell to the floor. Ashlee Bruce got on top of her sister and punched her several times, then stabbed her in the chest with a kitchen knife. The male visitor called 911 and ran away as Ashlee Bruce chased him.

Meanwhile, police arrived at the complex to respond to the earlier call from the family whose door Ashlee Bruce had been kicking. Officers found her in a neighbour’s suite, and found Crystal Bruce unresponsive on her kitchen floor.

Ashlee Bruce was arrested, and court heard Wednesday that though she admits to the agreed statement of facts, she does not recall the details of that night because of her intoxication.

The court ordered reports on Ashlee Bruce’s background to be prepared ahead of a sentencing hearing scheduled for March 1.

Several members of the women’s family attended the hearing.

pparsons@postmedia.com

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