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

  • 1 Canadian, 4 Americans killed in private plane crash in Honduras

    World News CTV News
    One Canadian and four Americans were killed after a small plane crashed into the sea shortly after taking off from Roatan, a popular island destination on the Atlantic coast of Honduras. Officials initially gave conflicting reports about the victims’ nationalities, suggesting all five of the victims were Canadians; however, the country’s armed forces later said four of the victims were from the United States. Source
  • Bomb hits tourist bus near Egypt's Giza Pyramids; at least 17 hurt

    World News CTV News
    CAIRO -- A roadside bomb hit a tourist bus on Sunday near the Giza Pyramids, wounding at least 17 people including tourists, Egyptian officials said. The officials said the bus was travelling on a road close to the under-construction Grand Egyptian Museum, which is located adjacent to the Giza Pyramids but is not yet open to tourists. Source
  • At least 12 hurt in tourist bus blast near Egypt's pyramids

    World News CBC News
    An explosion targeting a tourist bus injured at least 12 people near a new museum being built close to the Giza pyramids in Egypt on Sunday, two security sources said. Most of those injured were foreign tourists, the sources said. Source
  • UN tells Italy port closures would violate migrants' rights

    World News CTV News
    ROME -- The Italian interior ministry vowed Sunday to press ahead with a new decree formalizing the closure of Italian ports to aid groups that rescue migrants, even after UN human rights investigators said it violated international law. Source
  • Another royal wedding — but not so much pomp

    World News CBC News
    Hello, royal watchers. This is your biweekly dose of royal news and analysis. Reading this online? Sign up here to get this delivered to your inbox. There was a wedding in Windsor on Saturday, but there wasn't the pomp and pageantry — or controversy — to rival the other royal nuptials that have played out in the same place over the past year. Source
  • Austria heading for September election after far-right video scandal

    World News CBC News
    Austria's president on Sunday recommended a new election be held in early September, saying he wanted to restore trust in the government after a video scandal led to the resignation of the vice-chancellor. Chancellor Sebastian Kurz pulled the plug on the coalition and called for a snap election on Saturday after his deputy, Heinz-Christian Strache, the leader of the far-right Freedom Party, quit over a video showed him discussing fixing state contracts in return for favours. Source
  • No winning ticket for $5-million Lotto 649 jackpot

    Canada News CTV News
    TORONTO -- There was no winning ticket for the $5-million dollar jackpot in Saturday night's Lotto 649 draw. However, the guaranteed $1-million prize went to a ticket holder in Ontario. The jackpot for the next Lotto 649 draw on May 22 will be approximately $7 million. Source
  • Swiss voters approve tighter gun control

    World News CBC News
    Swiss voters agreed on Sunday to adopt tighter gun controls in line with changes to European Union rules, heading off a clash with Brussels, projections for Swiss broadcaster SRF showed. The projections from the gfs.bern polling outfit saw the measure passing in the binding referendum by a comfortable 67-to-33-per-cent margin. Source
  • Joe Biden rejects Democrats' anger in call for national unity

    World News CBC News
    His party may be enraged by Donald Trump's presidency, but Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden insisted Saturday that Democrats will not defeat the Republican president if they pick an angry nominee. Facing thousands of voters in his native Pennsylvania for the second time as a 2020 contender, the former vice-president offered a call for bipartisan unity that seemed far more aimed at a general election audience than the fiery Democratic activists most active in the presidential primary…
  • Welcome to Jurassic Park, where hope springs eternal for Toronto sports fans

    Canada News CBC News
    TORONTO — The amount of heartbreaking moments for Toronto sports fans who gather inside the concrete jungle referred to as both Maple Leaf Square and Jurassic Park is starting to add up. Though, in many ways, being in the square for a Toronto sports team playoff loss is a rite of passage. Source