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Jury finds teen guilty of second-degree murder in stabbing death of Jannai Dopwell-Bailey

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A teenager accused of killing 16-year-old Jannai Dopwell-Bailey as he left his Montreal school in 2021 has been found guilty of second-degree murder.

A jury delivered the verdict at the Montreal courthouse Tuesday morning, the Crown prosecutor confirmed.

The young man cannot be identified under the Youth Criminal Justice Act because he was a minor at the time of the murder.

Dopwell-Bailey was fatally stabbed in broad daylight in the parking lot of the Programme Mile End school in the city’s Cote-des-Neiges neighbourhood on Oct. 18, 2021. He rushed into the school to seek help and later died in hospital.

Reached by CTV News on Tuesday, the victim's mother, Charla Dopwell, said she was pleased with the verdict and feels that she got some justice for her son.

"I prayed a lot for justice for my son," she said in an interview. "I prayed to get justice for my son and this is great. I must say God is great," she said, adding that it was a "long, rough road" to get there.

"Going to court listening to the whole thing, listening to all that was said, what happened to my child, listening to the witnesses and everything, it was very, very, very, very, very emotional, it's draining."

Her journey through the justice system is not yet finished. Another youth was charged in her son's killing — an 18-year-old at the time he was arrested — whose trial is still pending.

The young man who was convicted on Tuesday is due back in court next spring and could be sentenced as an adult. The Crown is seeking an adult sentence, which would raise the number of years he spends incarcerated.

Second-degree murder in Canada carries an automatic life sentence, with no chance of parole for 10 years. For youth, the maximum sentence for second-degree murder is seven years, with a maximum of four years spent in custody and the remainder spent under supervision in the community.

The victim's mother said only an adult sentence would be appropriate because the killer "had no forgiveness, no remorse."

"He should stay in there as an adult, get an adult sentence and realize what he did and it was wrong to do that," she said.

"You can't give somebody 11 stabs. No, it's not. That does make me think, 'Oh, he tried to just punch him and it's an accident. He didn't mean to kill him.' He meant to do what he did to my innocent child, who didn't do anything [to him] at all. So he should be trying to try as an adult."

Four months after Dopwell-Bailey's killing, another Montreal teen was fatally stabbed outside St. Thomas High School in Montreal's West Island. Lucas Gaudet, 16, died from his injuries two days after the attack on Feb. 8, 2022.

The killer in that case, also 16 at the time, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder and was given a nearly three-year sentence in a detention centre, followed by two years served in the community.

Other teen killings at the time led to an outcry from victims' parents and community members who were shocked by a rash of youth violence.

The list of victims include Amir Benayad, 17, who was shot to death in the Plateau neighbourhood in January 2021, 16-year-old Thomas Trudel, who was killed in November, and Meriem Boundaoui, 15, who was killed in a drive-by shooting in February 2021.

The young man convicted Tuesday in Dopwell-Bailey's murder is scheduled to return to court on March 15, 2024.

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