(THUNDER BAY, ON) – Earlier this year in January 16th, 2018, then 24-year-old Shane Joseph Richard Whatley showed up drunk at a woman’as house that he had a deal with to shovel her snow. He damaged not only the home but various other items and assaulted her in her own home after forcing entry.
Whatley appeared in courtroom 102 today and plead guilty to two charges of unlawful entry and assault. His Honour, Justice Dino DiGiuseppe was presiding along with Crown Attorney P. Pasloski and criminal defence lawyer David Bruzzese.
The facts are that close to 10:30 pm on January 16th, 2018 Whatley attended a woman’s home while intoxicated on alcohol. He started knocking and banging on the door which prompted the woman who was getting ready to go to sleep. He demanded that the woman open the door and she advised him that she would not be opening the door while he was in that state.
The woman decided that giving the male $20 that she owed him for cleaning her snow the day before while she was at work might get him to go away. She brought the money to the door and open the door a bit. Whatley started to push his way into the home while she was trying to force the door shut, but he managed to overpower her and forced his way into her home.
Once in the home, Whatley made contact with the woman’s shoulder with his shoulder, knocking her to the ground. After some time she managed to convince him to leave. A 911 call was made and police arrested Whatley a few houses down from the woman’s home.
Criminal defence lawyer David Bruzzese states that these facts are undisputed.
VICTIM IMPACT STATEMENT
The female victim is in court, and she takes the stand to tell the court how this incident has impacted her. She starts off by telling her version of the events. As she recalls on January 16th, 2018, she was just entering her bedroom to goto sleep for the night. At this time she heard continuous banging against the front door, not just knocking but a body slamming against the door. Her brass door knocker was also being slammed against the door two to three hundred times. Whatley started shouting repeatedly “pay my f***ing money”.
The victim tells the court that she had the man shovel her driveway the day before while she was at work and that she had waited for him after work for him to come to pick up his money, but he never showed up. The male had been attacking her door, and upon her arriving at the door had assessed that Whatley was under the influence of something. She tells the court that she is a nurse and has experience noticing the signs that indicate intoxication. She tells the court that she has never had a negative experience with Whatley previously and that she did not expect it to be him.
Terrified and worried, she speaks to the man through the door. She asks him to just leave and that she wouldn’t call anybody or tell anyone if he were to just leave. The victim tells the court that in her 62-years on this earth, that she had never feared for her life until this moment. She decides that since he is so desperate for this money, that she would offer to open the door a crack and pay him his $20 that she owes him if he were to just leave and never return to her premises.
She slips the door open a crack, and he started to push the door wide open and forces her into her home. At this point, she says she started yelling “SOMEONE HELP ME PLEASE PLEASE HELP ME” into the dark of the night. She believed that he may kill her, beat her, damage her or her house. Once he was inside he took his shoes off and pursued her into her house as she retreated into her kitchen. The victim was begging Whatley countlessly to leave, she couldn’t breathe and told him she was afraid. Noticing her block of knives in the kitchen, she contemplated taking a knife to defend herself but she was too scared that he may overpower her and she would end up dead.
The woman starts to ponder what would have happened if her grandchild had been there that night, or if another family member was there during this incident, and how negatively it would have impacted them.
She doesn’t remember what exactly happened after that point, and how Whatley left the house. The only thing she remembers is that she locked her door once he was gone, and noticed that the $20 was still on the floor, as he did not take it. At this point Whatley had started destroying various items in the front yard, including a wreath one of her family members had made her. The victim locked herself in her bathroom and called 911. The operator instructed her to stay in there. She indicates that the 6-minute wait for police to arrive was stressful.
The woman tells Justice DiGiuseppe that she has not been comfortable or feel safe in her home since. She says the front door of her home causes her anxiety and she has been having home-invasion type nightmares at night. A security camera has since been installed at her home but has done nothing to help her feel safe. When she sees the damage done to the stucco outside her home done by Whatley, it reminds her of that rage-filled and dangerous night that she had endured.
A “joint submission” is when the Crown Attorney and the defence have come to an agreement on what the sentencing should be. The Crown Attorney and defence lawyer David Bruzzese have agreed to the following.
25-year-old Shane Joseph Richard Whatley has some mental health issues, but he is still a functioning member of society. Defence lawyer Bruzzese tells the court that Whatley was consuming alcohol during this incident and that he now knows he should not be drinking. Whatley has apparently not been drinking since this incident.
Whatley’s employer has described him as courteous, respectful and a good worker. Bruzzese tells the court that they believe it is important to keep him active.
Whatley has since been granted ODSP this year and is working on his mental health.
The proposal for sentencing is a 6-month house arrest for the assault charge on a conditional sentence order followed by a 3-month conditional sentence order where he would have to be inside his residence between 10:00 pm and 6:00 am. That would then be followed by a 2-year probation order, that would help him rehabilitate.
For the 9 months, he is on a conditional sentence order, his conditions are proposed as:
- No alcohol
- No contact with the victim
- Stay 150 meters away from anywhere the victim may be
- No firearms
- Get counselling regarding alcohol use and mental health
- No firearms
The probationary period has similar conditions.
His Honour, Justice DiGiuseppe states that Whatley has no criminal record, has been ready to plead guilty to the charges at an early stage and that Whatley suffers from mental health issues. These issues are mitigating factors in this case. His Honour further tells the court that if this situation had been committed by someone without significant mental health issues, his sentence would be much harsher. He also states that this is by no means meant to take away from how the victim has been impacted.
The focus of the sentencing is two-fold, to protect the victim from Whatley and for Whatley to address the issues that caused him to act this way. His Honour wants to protect the public, and specifically the victim from future incidents by imposing this sentence. He tells the court that if any conditions of the conditional sentence house arrest are breached, he will serve the remainder of his sentence in jail.
His Honour grants the joint submission. Whatley won’t go to jail today, but will be behind bars again if he breaches the conditions during his 9-month conditional sentence order.
Citizen journalist born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario. I like pizza and reporting on concerning events that are in my home region, or that impact it. You can read more by clicking here.