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This article was published 12/11/2021 (280 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Upset and angry after she awakened to find Douglas Wood sexually assaulting her, Jenna Kakegamick set his house on fire to "teach him a lesson," a court heard Friday.
Kakegamick walked away from the Pritchard Avenue blaze as Wood, overcome by smoke inhalation, made a desperate call to 911 for help.
Firefighters arrived within minutes, but it was too late. Wood, 41, was rushed to hospital in critical condition and died.
Kakegamick, 25, has pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the Oct. 31, 2019 killing.
"(Wood) knew what was happening before he died," said Crown attorney Melissa Carlson, who urged Queen’s Bench Justice Rick Saull to sentence Kakegamick to 12 years in prison. "It’s haunting to listen to (the 911 call) as he is struggling to get help."
Court heard Kakegamick had passed out after drinking hairspray with Wood at his home when sometime later she awoke to find Wood rubbing her groin and trying to remove her pants.
Kakegamick kicked Wood "to let him know his advances were unwelcome and to leave her alone," at which point Wood returned to a couch and went to sleep, Carlson said.
Sometime later, Kakegamick went to the kitchen where she soaked a rag with hand sanitizer and ignited it with a lighter. Kakegamick then set fire to a rag that she dropped on a bag of laundry near the kitchen before leaving through the back door.
Wood, awakened by the fire, called 911 "gasping for air and screaming for help," Carlson said. "He told a 911 operator he couldn’t breathe before the line went dead."
Court heard Wood had previously barricaded the front door with a piece of wood nailed to the floor, and the fire left him with no exit through the back door.
Carlson rejected any suggestion Kakegamick acted impulsively. "It took time to light these two fires before leaving Mr. Wood in the house," she said. "It wasn’t instantaneous."
Kakegamick could have left the house after Wood assaulted her, "but she was mad and anger got the better of her," said defence lawyer Mike Cook, who urged Saull to sentence his client to no more than five years in prison.
Kakegamick did not mean to kill Wood and was unaware the front door was barricaded, Cook said.
"When she left the house, she didn’t think he was going to die," he said. "She wanted to teach him a lesson."
Kakegamick, whose family has a history or substance abuse and residential school involvement, was a victim of childhood sexual abuse and began drinking when she was 12, Cook said.
"My client’s dependence on alcohol was as severe as it can be," Cook said. "She recognizes alcohol has ruined her life in many respects."
Cook said a 12-year sentence would be "really crushing" for Kakegamick, arguing a shorter sentence of five years would better her chances of benefiting from rehabilitative programming while in custody and in the community.
"I want her to get all the help we can give her," Cook said.
Kakegamick was arrested a month prior to the fatal fire in an incident that featured "similar themes," Carlson said.
Court heard Kakegamick was arrested Sept. 24, 2019 after she and another woman left a grocery store and a loss-prevention officer accused them of shoplifting. Court heard Kakegamick threw an unidentified liquid on the man, pulled out a lighter and said: "Don’t mess with me or "I’ll f---ing set you on fire."
Kakegamick pleaded guilty to one count of uttering threats and failing to comply with a recognizance and was sentenced in April 2020 to one month time served.
Saull will sentence Kakegamick on Nov. 26.
Someone once said a journalist is just a reporter in a good suit. Dean Pritchard doesn’t own a good suit. But he knows a good lawsuit.