Roman Bourque sentenced to five years for 2013 beating death

Emerson Curran
Emerson Curran was 20 when he was beaten and killed by Roman Bourque during a Yellowknife house party in 2013.
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A Yellowknife man has been sentenced to five years in prison for beating and killing a 20-year-old man from Ottawa during a Yellowknife house party two years ago.

Roman Bourque, 25, pleaded guilty to manslaughter in April 2015 in the death of Emerson Curran.

Curran, a philosophy major at the University of Ottawa, was working at Air Tindi during the summer of 2013. He was supposed to fly home to Ottawa hours after the altercation with Bourque just after midnight on August 24.

According to an agreed statement of facts, both men were intoxicated at the party, when words were exchanged. Bourque then punched Curran repeatedly, causing him to fall and hit his head on the edge of a piano.

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He then continued to hit Curran as he lay unconscious, pushing people off him as they tried to intervene.

Curran, who was 20 at the time, was transported to hospital in Edmonton but was pronounced dead the following day. His liver, heart, lungs, kidneys, and pancreas were donated shortly afterwards.

Bourque’s sentence was delivered on Thursday, a day after Emerson’s parents – Michael and Catrina Curran – read emotional victim impact statements to the court.

“Our family’s wounds will never heal,” said Michael Curran. “Our lives will never return to normal.”

Catrina Curran told the court she hasn’t worked since her son was pronounced dead on August 25, 2013. In the aftermath of Emerson’s passing she was diagnosed with clinical depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

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The family – which also includes Emerson’s siblings Graeme, Liam and Lauren – has even feared losing their home.

Bourque himself addressed the court Wednesday, saying he’s truly sorry for the pain he’s caused as he fought off tears.

In delivering her sentence, Judge Karan Shaner said the sentence is appropriate and warranted. She characterized Bourque’s attack as “impulsive, stupid and violent” and something that he’ll have to live with even after his incarceration.

Though she noted that he’d never been in trouble with the law before and that he wasn’t known to be violent. His guilty plea, which avoided a trial, was also taken into consideration.

Shaner will request that Bourque serve his time in the territory and that he face a 10-year firearm prohibition following his release.

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