Woman who killed elderly neighbour sentenced to 12 years in prison

An Ontario woman who stabbed her elderly neighbour at least 149 times in an attempt to get money for drugs has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

An Ontario woman who stabbed her elderly neighbour at least 149 times in an attempt to get money for drugs has been sentenced to 12 years behind bars.

Sharon Baksh, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the death of 89-year-old Aletta Rusnell, will receive credit for the time spent in custody before trial, leaving her with seven years, eight months and 13 days to serve.

An agreed statement of facts says Baksh and her boyfriend were both crack cocaine addicts and lived across the hall from Rusnell in Oshawa, east of Toronto.

It says Baksh had consumed a lot of the drug, as well as alcohol, Zoloft and hydromorphone — a narcotic painkiller — in the days leading up to the June 2013 attack.

The document says Baksh, who was 34 at the time, stabbed her boyfriend in the arms when he refused to give her money for drugs.

When he left their apartment, she then broke into Rusnell’s home, cutting a hole in the screen with a knife so she could steal valuables.

Baksh had expected her neighbour to be having a bath, but instead the woman confronted her, the statement says.

Rusnell was repeatedly and fatally stabbed and left in her apartment, which appeared to have been ransacked, it says.

Baksh returned to her home, where her boyfriend had just arrived, and told him she had killed their neighbour. He then called police.

“There was no history of animosity between the two women,” Superior Court Judge Bruce Glass wrote in his decision, noting that Rusnell had allowed Baksh to use her phone earlier in the day.

Baksh had a “troubled childhood,” which led her to substance abuse and prostitution, the judge wrote. She was also previously in an abusive relationship and attempted to commit suicide as a result, he said.

She also had a criminal record that included convictions for uttering threats, possession of stolen property and of cocaine.

“Although her early years provide an explanation for how she became drug and alcohol dependent, one might say that Sharon Baksh became a self-centred person who has become drug and alcohol dependent and who became violent when she did not get what she wanted,” he said.

“This leaves one with the impression that she only cares about herself.”

As part of her sentence, she is barred from communicating with Rusnell’s relatives, her boyfriend and a third person, or having a weapon.

She must also submit a DNA sample.

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