Canada N.W.T. man who killed adoptive mother receives outpouring of support from community

08:21  07 july  2018
08:21  07 july  2018 Source:   cbc.ca

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a group of people standing in the grass: Nearly 50 people showed their support for Jonathan Tetso with a feeding of the fire ceremony. His aunt, Paulina Roche, said an elders committee decided the best thing to do was to forgive him, so people can move forward. © Submitted by Paulina Roche Nearly 50 people showed their support for Jonathan Tetso with a feeding of the fire ceremony. His aunt, Paulina Roche, said an elders committee decided the best thing to do was to forgive him, so people can move forward.

Dozens of people stood in front of Deline's cultural centre on Thursday for a feeding of the fire ceremony to show support for Jonathan Tetso before his sentencing hearing for manslaughter.

As RCMP led him up the stairs of the cultural centre, which serves as the community's courthouse, the Deline Drummers sang a prayer song and community members clapped. A court sheriff handed out bottled water, and others hugged each other.

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The couple received a standing ovation. The biological mother and father entered a rehabilitation center in Florida after an outpouring of support . Three-month-old Hope was cradled in the arms of her adoptive mother throughout Trump's address.

I never expected that the search would attract an outpouring of media attention; bring forward dozens of families, all As one man who had mistakenly assumed he was my birth father told me in 2012: “We came to the city from They’d ask, “How could your adoptive mother possibly support your search?”

Despite wearing handcuffs, Tetso managed to wave to the crowd, which cheered in response. 

According to court records, Tetso, his adoptive mother Irene Tetso, his nephew Christian Tetso and friend Connie Modeste spent the afternoon drinking on Dec. 23, 2016. After Jonathan hit his nephew in the head with a frying pan, only Jonathan Tetso and his mother were in the house.

His nephew returned to the home about an hour later to find Irene dead on the floor beside her bed. Jonathan Tetso was lying on his own bed .

Unprecedented support 

a group of people posing for the camera: Drummers sang a prayer song as Jonathan Tetso was led into the cultural centre, which serves as the community's courthouse. © Submitted by Paulina Roche Drummers sang a prayer song as Jonathan Tetso was led into the cultural centre, which serves as the community's courthouse.

Tetso pleaded guilty to manslaughter in December 2017. On Thursday, Justice Louise Charbonneau sentenced him to four and a half years behind bars for the crime.

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Crown prosecutor Annie Piche said the sentence was a joint recommendation on behalf of the Crown and the defence. Piche added she has never seen such an outpouring of community support at a sentencing hearing.

"The support of the community was one factor the judge considered in assessing Mr. Tetso's prospect of rehabilitation in this case," she said.

Deline is a community of about 500 people on the western shore of Great Bear Lake. 

Paulina Roche, Jonathan's aunt, organized the gathering. She said an elders committee representing both Jonathan and Irene's families decided to forgive Jonathan.

"We can never bring Irene back, but we can forgive and move on," said Roche. "That's what elders are telling us. We have to forgive. We can't change it. We have to be there for Jonathan."

Taking into account time served, Jonathan Tetso still has 26 and a half months left in his sentence.

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