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Teen Jailed For Killing Man Who Answered Online Ad

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NEW BRUNSWICK -- A Saint John teenager has been sentenced to two years behind bars for manslaughter in the stabbing death of a man who responded last March to his online classified ad in which the teen offered to do odd jobs.

The 17-year-old previously pleaded guilty in the death of Jason Dow, 29, who was found unresponsive outside a home on Barker Street, in the city's north end, shortly after midnight on March 11.

The youth, who cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act, was originally charged with second-degree murder, but the Crown withdrew that charge on Nov. 4 and charged him with manslaughter.

The Court of Queen's Bench heard Friday that the teen had put an online classified ad on Kijiji, offering to do odd jobs.

Dow hired the teen to model for photographs at his apartment, said Crown prosecutor Lucie Mathurin. He paid the youth $300 up front, and gave him a cheque for $850, plus a 12-pack of beer, she said.

The teen consumed about nine beers and posed in various stages of undress. The photos suggested a certain intimacy had taken place, said Mathurin, noting that some of the numerous images on Dow's camera of other teens masturbating and having intercourse would have been in violation of the Criminal Code.

Then, around midnight, the teen got angry, she said. He texted a friend, saying he was going to kill Dow, grabbed a kitchen knife and chased him down the street.

The teen stabbed Dow five times, hit him in the head and left him for dead in a pool of blood, said Mathurin.

He went back into Dow's apartment, took Dow's car keys and fled to the nearby community of Hampton, where he met two friends who persuaded him to turn himself into police.

Family grieving

In a victim impact statement, read aloud in court, Dow's mother, Marina Dow, said there were no words to explain how she felt about her loss. When Dow died, a part of her died too, she said.

Dow was smart and got high honours in school, but was always bullied, the court heard.

His younger sister Melissa Dow told the court he experienced "torture and torment" because he was gay. She said she has nightmares about him being left alone in the cold to die.

The teen, who has an alcohol problem and learning disabilities, also addressed the court.

"I'm so sorry," he told Dow's family. "It's not who I am.

"I wish I could take all your pain away," he said. "I'll never be the same."

The Crown prosecutor told reporters outside the courtroom that she decided to go with the lesser offence of manslaughter, based on the teen's age and level of intoxication that night.

But she recommended the court consider a sentence of three years in prison, the maximum sentence for manslaughter under the Young Offenders Act.

Justice Hugh McLellan agreed it was a serious case because the teen had signalled his intent to kill the victim in a text message, but the judge also took into account that the teen had turned himself in and had expressed remorse.

The judge gave the teen credit for the nine months he has already served in custody and sentenced him to two years at the Miramichi Youth Centre.

He also sentenced him to three months of supervised probation.

The lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community in Saint John held a peace march to honour Dow last May. At that time, police said it was unclear what may have led to the homicide and hadn't ruled anything out, including homophobia.

In Dow's death notice, the family asked that any donations be made to Port City Rainbow Pride, a group dedicated to supporting and empowering people of all sexual orientations and gender identities.