A Red Deer prostitute has been sentenced to nine years for killing the man she describes as her best friend.
Stephanie Walroth, 44, was charged with second-degree murder by police investigating the death of Shaughn Lumley, 58, whose body was found in his Riverside Meadows apartment on Christmas Day, 2011.
Walroth pleaded guilty on March 18 of this year to the lesser charge of manslaughter.
In Red Deer provincial court on Thursday, Calgary-based Crown prosecutor Richelle Freiheit described a vicious fight that broke out while Walroth and Lumley were drinking together on Dec. 21, 2011.
The pair had an ongoing arrangement, in which Walroth provided housecleaning, cooking and sexual favours in exchange for money, drugs and an occasional place to stay, said Freiheit.
They had consumed about half of a 1,200-ml bottle of whisky when they started fighting about money, she said.
Walroth told police that Lumley struck her on the side of the head with the half-empty bottle.
The autopsy report shows that he suffered dozens of internal and external injuries.
Lumley died when Walroth ripped the elastic waistband off his shorts and strangled him with it.
He would have to have been incapacitated already for Walroth to overcome him and pull the elastic tight enough to strangle him, said Freiheit.
Awaking in a pool of blood with Lumley’s body on top of her, Walroth dragged him into a bedroom, opened the window, turned on a fan and shut the door.
She then cleaned up the apartment, changed clothes and left the building.
In her victim impact statement, Lumley’s sister, Anna Hollness, said Walroth killed two people that day.
Their 90-year-old mother was hospitalized when she learned of Lumley’s death and “never came out,” said Hollness.
“You didn’t even know her, but what you did killed her, too.”
Walroth’s sister, Brawnlyn Johnson, pleaded for leniency, saying that she, Stephanie and the other children in their family had suffered an incredibly cruel childhood, which Stephanie was not able to overcome.
Defence counsel Paul Morigeau also argued for leniency, saying his client had been provoked and that there was an element of self defence in her actions.
Judge Jim Mitchell said that a cruel childhood may explain her actions, but does not excuse them.
“This was a brutal and degrading attack on a debilitated and incapacitated man,” said Mitchell.
Pointing to a history of violence, he said Walroth functions well within the structure of a prison environment, but makes no efforts to stay clean when she is not in custody.
He sentenced her to nine years, with 18 months credit for time served in pre-trial custody and no chance of parole until she has served at least half of her sentence.