Credits: SUN NEWS NETWORK.
WINNIPEG — Was the baseball bat killing of 12-year-old Albert Goosehead an act of self-defence or an unjustifiable act of violence?
That's the question facing jurors asked to decide whether 20-year-old Tennessee Weedmark is guilty of manslaughter in the June 2009 killing.
Court has heard Weedmark beat Goosehead to death following a late night altercation in the backyard of a home in Mantioba's Bloodvein First Nation.
Weedmark told police he feared for his pregnant girlfriend's life after he saw Goosehead hit the woman in the head with a baseball bat. Weedmark shoved the boy to the ground, grabbed the bat and beat him in the head at least two times.
Prosecutors say Goosehead posed no realistic threat once he had been disarmed.
"Even if you accept that Weedmark believed (his girlfriend) was in danger of being further assaulted by Albert, that danger ended when Weedmark pushed Albert down ... grabbed the bat and was faced with a 99-pound unarmed child on the ground," said Crown attorney Craig Savage. "Albert presented no danger to anyone at this point. This was more a case of retaliation."
Court has heard Weedmark previously dated his girlfriend's sister. Weedmark told police he and his girlfriend broke up for several weeks, then reunited the night of the killing after learning she may be pregnant.
Weedmark told police he had been drinking heavily when his girlfriend's sister, another woman and Goosehead broke into the home. Court heard testimony Goosehead believed Weedmark had assaulted his former girlfriend, Goosehead's cousin, and was intent on retribution.
Weedmark said Goosehead swung at him first before he shoved Goosehead to the ground and seized the bat.
"My body suddenly took over -- it had a mind of its own," Weedmark told police.
Weedmark reacted instinctively out of fear, argued defence lawyer Darren Sawchuk.
"We are hard-wired as human beings to have certain survival instincts," Sawchuk said. "Sometimes we are also hard-wired to protect those that are in our charge."
Jurors will return to court next week for their final instructions from Justice Colleen Suche and then begin deliberations.