A St. Theresa Point man who beat his wife to death while drunk in January 2018 has been sentenced to 18 years in prison following a manslaughter conviction last year.
Manitoba Court of Queen’s Bench Justice Chris Martin imposed the 18-year sentence on Jonathon Wood in a written decision delivered Jan. 12. Wood has been in custody since the incident and received four-and-a-half years’ credit for pretrial custody, leaving him 13-and-a-half years to serve.
Wood and his wife Kathleen Wood were drinking and doing drugs with his brother and his brother’s girlfriend on the night that he killed her. Martin found that Wood had beaten her intermittently over the course of a few hours and characterized the assault as “merciless.”
Jonathon Wood had been convicted four times previously of assaulting his wife, receiving a sentence of 18 months plus two years’ probation for the most recent incident after being convicted of assault causing bodily harm. At the time of Kathleen Wood’s killing, Jonathon Wood was bound by the conditions of a recognizance for an alleged assault against her and others that took place in Winnipeg in September 2017 and was not supposed to be in contact with her or in St. Theresa Point.
Martin found Jonathon Wood’s previous criminal record, which included eight convictions for assault, one of which was against a previous domestic partner, and nine convictions for breaching court orders, were aggravating factors, as were the brutality of the beating and the fact that the victim was his spouse. Though other cases presented by defence counsel showed that 15 years was usually the upper range of sentences for spousal manslaughter, Martin said Jonathon Wood deserved a longer one as he “remains a danger” for whom rehabilitation is only a possibility.
“If he had simply followed the court orders, she would be alive,” wrote Martin, noting that Jonathon Wood’s previous convictions for assaulting his wife had all occurred after verbal arguments when he was intoxicated. His level of intoxication at the time of the killing was a factor in Martin finding him guilty of manslaughter rather than second-degree murder because it wasn’t certain that he had intended to cause her such serious harm that he knew it would likely kill her.