Canadian diplomat's teen son pleads no contest to Miami killings

The teenaged son of a Canadian diplomat pleaded no contest Friday to reduced charges of third-degree felony murder related to a double killing in Miami -- even though he had no part in the gunplay that left his older brother dead.

See Full Article

In exchange for his plea, Marc Wabafiyebazu, 15, of Ottawa, will have to serve six months in a boot camp starting next week, followed by 10 months of modified house arrest and a maximum eight years' probation.

If he completes the sentence without incident, the teen will have no criminal conviction registered against him.

"Marc has his future," his mother Roxanne Dube, Canada's former consul general in Miami, told The Canadian Press. "He's going to be saved."

Wabafiyebazu, Dube's younger son, has been in custody since last March 30, when he was arrested outside a Miami apartment in which his 18-year-old brother Jean Wabafiyebazu and another teen were shot dead.

Prosecutors did not allege the younger sibling had any direct role in the bloodshed, apparently the result of his brother's attempt to rob a drug dealer of 800 grams of marijuana. However, they maintained Wabafiyebazu had known of the scheme when they drove in their mom's car to what police called the "drug den."

As a result, under Florida's felony law, they charged the teen as an adult with multiple offences, including felony first-degree murder, which carries a minimum 40 years in prison.

Under the plea deal approved by the state attorney, however, the prosecution made a rare concession to reduce the two main charges he faced to third-degree murder. Wabafiyebazu also pleaded no contest to a reduced charge of aggravated battery and attempted armed robbery.

"Essentially, he is paying the price for Jean," Dube said. "He is also pleading to the murder of his own brother."

While a "no contest" plea has the same basic effect as a guilty plea, the accused doesn't actually admit guilt.

Wabafiyebazu's two co-accused, including the drug dealer who fled the scene with his drugs and a handgun, were granted bail soon after also being charged with lesser felony-murder crimes. Prosecutors agree to drop those charges in exchange for their commitment to testify against Wabafiyebazu and a guilty plea.

Last fall, both co-accused pleaded guilty to minor drug charges and were sentenced to boot camp, house arrest and probation which, if successfully completed, would also mean no conviction.

Much of the prosecution's case against Wabafiyebazu rested on a spontaneous confession a rookie police officer said the youth had made from the back seat of a cruiser as he was taken to a detention facility. Police had denied his requests to call his mother and did not warn him that anything he said could be used against him.

"This is one of the most serious cases I've had in this division in a long time," Circuit Court Judge Teresa Pooler said in approving the deal.

Dube stepped down last August as consul general, a post she had taken up less than two months before the deadly encounter.

In a recent interview with The Canadian Press, she talked extensively of the struggle to cope with the death of her older son while trying to support his devastated younger brother, who found himself behind bars and facing the prospect of a lengthy prison term.

The teen, whom she described as the son every mother would want, had never been in trouble with the law.

This a corrected story. A previous version said Mabafiyebazu had pleaded guilty. In fact, he pleaded no contest.



Advertisements

Latest Canada & World News

  • Georgia Aquarium's largest female whale shark dies

    World News CTV News
    ATLANTA -- The largest female whale shark at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta has died. Trixie, who had been at the aquarium since 2006, died Friday, the aquarium said in a statement on its Facebook page. Source
  • Thailand's pro-democracy protesters warn of possible coup

    World News CTV News
    BANGKOK -- Pro-democracy demonstrators in Thailand, undeterred by arrest warrants and the possibility of violent attacks, held another rally on Friday, poking fun at their critics and warning of the possibility of a military coup. The potential for violence was illustrated after their last rally on Wednesday, when two men were reportedly shot and critically wounded. Source
  • Woman says she felt 'violated' and 'betrayed' after visit to N.S. doctor's office

    Canada News CTV News
    SPRINGHILL, N.S. -- A woman who says she was sexually assaulted at her doctor's office in Springhill is sharing her story publicly. An expected publication ban led CTV News to not identify who she is. Source
  • Sarah Fuller set to make history by suiting up for Vanderbilt men's football team

    World News CBC News
    Women's soccer player Sarah Fuller will don a football uniform Saturday for Vanderbilt and is poised to become the first woman to play in a Power 5 game when the Commodores visit Missouri. "Let's make history," senior Sarah Fuller wrote Friday on Twitter with a photo of herself wearing a football jersey with a soccer ball between her feet while holding a football in her hands. Source
  • Indian farmers continue protest against new laws as police allow them into capital

    World News CBC News
    Thousands of angry Indian farmers protesting against new agricultural laws were allowed to enter the national capital late Friday after they clashed with police who had blocked them at the outskirts of the city. The farmers, who fear the new laws will reduce their earnings and give more power to corporations, will be escorted to a protest site in New Delhi, police in a statement. Source
  • Murray Sinclair to retire from Senate

    Canada News CBC News
    Sen. Murray Sinclair is retiring from the Senate to work on mentoring young lawyers in Indigenous law and to write his memoirs. "Since working on the [Truth and Reconciliation Commission], we have seen a shift in how our country understands and speaks of residential schools and Indigenous issues in Canada," Sinclair said in a media statement. Source
  • Waterloo-based gun wholesaler accused of alleged $48-million fraud

    Canada News CTV News
    WATERLOO -- Waterloo firearms seller Trigger Wholesale, Inc. is facing allegations that it is millions of dollars in debt, and that its directors and officers were behind what its creditor calls “a massive fraud.” Trigger is an importer/exporter and wholesale distributer of firearms that it says works with federally licensed dealers, retailers, law enforcement and government and military agencies across Canada. Source
  • Alta. adds 1,227 COVID-19 cases; peace officers to enforce new restrictions

    Canada News CTV News
    EDMONTON -- Alberta’s top doctor reported 1,227 new cases of COVID-19 and nine more deaths linked to the disease. The positivity rate for Thursday was 7.6 per cent after provincial labs conducted more than 16,200 tests. Source
  • 'Everybody's coughing': Saskatoon inmates say COVID-19 cases weren't moved out of crowded unit

    Canada News CTV News
    SASKATOON -- At least two inmates who tested positive for COVID-19 remained in a crowded unit inside Saskatoon's jail without being relocated or provided the opportunity to self-isolate, according to inmates who spoke with CTV News. Source
  • Her classroom is a school change room. Here's how she's making online teaching work

    Canada News CBC News
    There are no windows in Robyn O'Drowsky's classroom. Her walls would usually be plastered with posters and kids' art. Instead, she's staring at drab off-white brick, a few lockers and more coat hooks than she has coats. Source