A Calgary mother who confessed to killing her infant son in diary entries to her dead husband has been sentenced to 13 years in prison.
Justice Terry Semenuk sentenced Stacey Joy Bourdeaux to four years for manslaughter, eight years for the attempted murder of a second child and one year for failing to provide the necessities of life.
Ms. Bourdeaux stood quietly during the sentencing and showed little emotion.
She was given credit of three years and five months for time already served, meaning she has another nine years and seven months left on her sentence.
Ms. Bourdeaux, 34, pleaded guilty last summer to manslaughter in the 2004 death of 10-month-old Sean Ronald Fewer and to the attempted murder of her five-year-old boy in 2010. She also admitted to failing to provide the necessities of life.
Sean was found not breathing in his crib in December 2004. At the time, his death did not raise any suspicion with the medical examiner, who ruled it was a case of sudden infant death syndrome.
However, Ms. Bourdeaux admitted to killing the child in her diary to her husband Ted Fewer, who had died in an electrical accident.
“Dear Ted. Now that you are gone I can confess about Sean,” Ms. Bourdeaux wrote. “The night that he left us, it wasn’t actually while he was sleeping.
“I did what I didn’t want to do. The crying wouldn’t stop, so I ended up putting a pillow over his face and made sure that it was stopping his breathing. I know it’s something that I shouldn’t have done, but I did.”
In May 2010, police were called to Alberta Children’s Hospital in Calgary where a five-year-old boy was brought in with breathing trouble.
A few months later, police charged Ms. Bourdeaux with attempted murder and choking with intent.
Court heard Ms. Bourdeaux dragged the boy upstairs after he had thrown a tantrum. Over a two-hour period, she attempted to choke him.
She waited several days before taking him to hospital. He survived, but has severe brain damage, no longer speaks and has limited motor skills.
It was during the investigation into that attack that police looked into Ms. Bourdeaux’s background and discovered Sean’s death. It was reclassified a homicide.
Defence lawyer Katherin Beyak had been seeking a sentence in the eight to 10-year range. The Crown wanted 18 years.
Ms. Beyak said Ms. Bourdeaux was both physically and sexually abused as a child and received virtually no counselling. That in turn hurt her ability to cope with stressful situations — all “provocative” factors in the death of the infant who was ill and constantly crying.