New Westminster â€” A North Delta woman convicted of manslaughter for stabbing her common-law husband to death during a domestic fight has been sentenced to one year in jail minus time served.
Beatrice Thomas, 38, was sentenced Monday in B.C. Supreme Court in New Westminster.
Justice Trevor Armstrong gave Thomas double credit for the 100 days she’s already spent in custody. She waved to her family members as a sheriff led her away to serve her remaining 165 days, after which time she will also serve one and a half year’s probation.
The victim’s family declined to comment afterward.
Thomas had been tried for second-degree murder but Armstrong found her guilty of the lesser charge. She plans to appeal her conviction.
Thomas stabbed Quannah O’Soup, 37, in the chest on July 3rd, 2011, in the tiny half-duplex the couple rented at 11540 80th Ave. in North Delta, across the street from the entrance to McCloskey elementary school. They lived there with two of Thomas’s daughters, who were ages 10 and 15 at the time.
The girls were in their bedroom and didn’t witness the violence that had unfolded in the living room, shortly after midnight.
The court heard Thomas and O’Soup financed their crack cocaine habits by shoplifting and had been engaged in a relationship power struggle.
A couple that was staying with them at the time was in the kitchen when O’Soup was stabbed but didn’t see it happen. O’Soup died at the scene, of a single stab wound that punctured his lung and heart. Armstrong noted there was a "significant" amount of cocaine in his blood.
Armstrong found no reliable evidence as to how things unfolded in the living room, or what Thomas’s state of mind was at the time, but concluded that Thomas, with arm raised, thrust a knife down into O’Soup’s chest as he advanced on her from a distance of about seven feet.
"I do not know why Mr. O’Soup was stabbed," Armstrong said.
"After some reluctance on her part, 911 was called."
The Crown argued for a prison sentence of three to four years while the defence argued for a suspended sentence.
"Ultimately this sentence must be proportionate to the gravity of the offence," Armstrong said.
The court heard Thomas had endured abuse in her childhood and adult years, resided in 14 separate foster homes and lived a life "punctuated" with substance abuse. "She appears to have been involved in multiple violent and abusive relationships, including with the deceased," Armstrong noted.
Thomas is the mother of seven children, ages seven to 24. O’Soup had five children of his own in Edmonton. The eldest is 23, and the youngest are twins, age 11.
Armstrong said any sentence would be "little comfort" to the victim’s family. "The impact of this offence has been enormous," he said. "His place will not be taken by anyone else."
The court heard Thomas wants to be a heavy equipment operator after she’s served her sentence.