Crown asks for 10 years for murder

NANAIMO – Christopher Robinson pleads guilty to killing Brittany Baird in 2011

A confrontation over drugs that resulted in the killing of a 22-year-old Nanaimo mother almost two years ago has had lasting impacts on the dead woman’s family.

Emergency crews found Brittany Elsie Baird dead on Milford Crescent near Selby Street May 25, 2011, at about 11 p.m. Efforts to revive her failed.

Police charged Christopher James Robinson and Marcus Brandon Parry with second-degree murder, but several days before the trial was scheduled to begin in late February, Robinson, 26, entered an unexpected guilty plea to the charge and Crown counsel stayed proceedings against Parry.

A second-degree murder conviction comes with a mandatory life sentence with a minimum parole ineligibility period of 10 years and at Thursday’s sentencing hearing, the Crown asked for the minimum period, taking into account Robinson’s age, his aboriginal background and the guilty plea.

Crown counsel Frank Dubenski also read out five victim impact statements from family and friends of the deceased and shared comments the victim’s brother, Ashley Baird, made to prosecutors recently.

The brother, who met with Crown counsel before the sentencing hearing but did not provide an impact statement, told prosecutors about Brittany Baird’s attempts to get an apartment and money so she could regain custody of her one-year-old son, and how she turned to street-level drug trafficking to get the money needed.

“The choice was not one he was comfortable with,” said Dubenski, adding that Ashley tried to talk her out of it.

Parents Shirley and Ronnie Baird described their financial hardship since Baird’s death, as Shirley had to quit her job to raise her daughter’s son, as well as the mental trauma her death caused.

Ronnie is on medication for stress and Shirley wrote that she not only lost a daughter, but also a close friend. She has since had trouble sleeping and her mental health has been affected.

“I hurt each day and will forever,” reads her statement. “Every day I can’t help but think how she died and how desperately she wanted to live.”

Dubenski started Thursday’s court proceedings with the Crown’s factual overview of the case.

He said earlier that evening, Robinson was drinking with Parry and a female friend and decided he wanted some drugs, so he contacted Baird – the Crown believes he acquired her number from some other street source – and arranged to meet her in Nob Hill Park.

“During a brief, violent confrontation over the drugs, Ms. Baird was overpowered and stabbed by Mr. Robinson eight times,” said Dubenski.

He said stab wounds were directed at Baird’s chest, neck or head and five of the stab wounds were life-threatening, including one on the right side of her neck that lacerated the right carotid artery, adding that during the confrontation, Baird also inflicted a small laceration on Robinson’s back right shoulder, as she was also carrying a knife.

Dubenski said Parry and the female friend both stated that at the time of the murder, while they were in the park, they could not see what had happened but could hear a female screaming and all three fled the scene after.

He said Parry told police officers he knew Robinson was planning to rob Baird, but that he didn’t think Robinson was going to kill her.

Peter Hertzberg, Robinson’s lawyer, said his client maintains that he had a blackout which started when he was walking toward Nob Hill Park and his next recollection is after the trio had left the park.

He said what is clear is that Baird and Robinson were engaged in an altercation involving drugs and while it is not known who pulled a blade first, it does not matter, as Robinson’s actions exceeded what would have been necessary to defend himself.

Hertzberg said close to trial, Robinson decided to plead guilty to spare the Baird family further grief.

He also noted that there was no parental figure at the sentencing hearing to show support for Robinson, which is consistent with his history.

Hertzberg said Robinson has spent more time in jail than out of jail and feels uncomfortable outside of jail.

Dubenski noted that Robinson’s past record does not include any serious violence incidents.

Judge Miriam Maisonville ordered a pre-sentence report on Robinson that includes a component focusing specifically on his aboriginal background, to be ready in time for continuation of the sentencing hearing April 15.

Just Posted

The Nanaimo Business Awards are accepting nominations now. (Greater Nanaimo Chamber of Commerce image)
Nanaimo Business Awards accepting nominations of worthy winners

This year’s awards aren’t until the fall, but the nomination period ends June 28

Retailers say they’re ready for the ban on single-use plastic checkout bags in Nanaimo when it takes effect July 1. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Retailers report they’re ready for Nanaimo’s single-use checkout bag ban

Business operators say there’s been plenty of time to plan and prepare for bylaw that kicks in July 1

Nanaimo Fire Rescue crews on scene at a boat fire near the boat ramp at Long Lake on Sunday, June 20. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Boat burns up on Nanaimo’s Long Lake, man and child unhurt

Jet skiers attempt to put out fire by circling around to spray water on burning boat

Gabriola singer-songwriter Sarah Osborne, Cowichan Valley duo Heartwood, Vancouver singer Kelly Haigh and Nanaimo bluesman David Gogo (clockwise from top-left) are among the performers in this year’s Cultivate Festival. (Photos submitted)
Gabriola Arts Council presents COVID-conscious Cultivate Festival

Theatre, music and art festival returns to Gabriola Island after 2020 hiatus

The border crossing into the United States is seen during the COVID-19 pandemic in Lacolle, Que. on February 12, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Paul Chiasson
VIDEO: Border quarantine to soon lift for fully vaccinated Canadians

Eligible travellers must still take multiple COVID-19 tests

Chilliwack secondary school’s principal is apologizing after a quote equating graduation with the end of slavery in the U.S. was included in the 2020-2021 yearbook. (Screenshot from submitted SnapChat)
B.C. student’s yearbook quote equates grad to end of slavery; principal cites editing error

Black former student ‘disgusted’ as CSS principal apologizes for what is called an editing error

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross. (Photo by Peter Versteege)
BC Liberal leadership candidate condemns ‘senseless violence’ of Okanagan church fires

Skeena MLA Ellis Ross says reconciliation isn’t about revenge for past tragedies

COVID-19 daily cases reported to B.C. public health, seven-day moving average to June 17, 2021. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infections drop to 90 on Sunday, 45 Monday

Pandemic spread dwindles as 77% of adults receive vaccine

John A. Read, who was inspired to leave his former career to become a professional astronomer by the purchase of a $13 telescope, will give beginning astronomers key pointers on how to set up and get the best performance from their instruments at Nanaimo Astronomy Society’s meeting June 24. (Photo courtesy Jennifer Read)
Astrophysicist will talk about getting the most out of a telescope at Nanaimo astronomy meeting

John Read’s purchase of a $13 telescope led to a degree in astrophysics and a career in astronomy

Emergency vehicles are parked outside of the Wintergreen Apartments on Fourth Avenue. (SUSAN QUINN / Alberni Valley News)
Port Alberni RCMP investigate stabbing on Fourth Avenue

Two men were found with ‘significant’ injuries near Wintergreen Apartments

A coroner’s inquest will be taking place at the Capitol Theatre in Port Alberni for the next week. (ELENA RARDON / ALBERNI VALLEY NEWS)
Teen B.C. mom who died following police custody recalled as ‘friend to many’

Police sent Jocelyn George to hospital after intoxication had gone ‘beyond the realm’ of normal detox

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2020, file photo, Las Vegas Raiders defensive end Carl Nassib leaves the field after an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons in Atlanta. Nassib on Monday, June 21, 2021, became the first active NFL player to come out as gay. Nassib announced the news on Instagram, saying he was not doing it for the attention but because “I just think that representation and visibility are so important.” (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)
Nassib becomes first active NFL player to come out as gay

More than a dozen NFL players have come out as gay after their careers were over

Penticton Indian Band Chief Greg Gabriel speaks to the Sacred Hearts Catholic Church burning down early Monday morning, June 21, 2021. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Penticton band chief condemns suspicious burning of 2 Catholic churches

Both Catholic church fires are deemed suspicious, says RCMP

Most Read