Four women were sentenced in Saskatoon court after pleading guilty to manslaughter in what the Crown categorized as a retaliation gone wrong.

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Theresa Taysup was in the wrong place at the wrong time when she was hit in the chest with a shotgun blast through the window of a ground floor apartment unit in Saskatoon’s Riversdale neighbourhood.

“I hope you hear that shotgun blast every night for the rest of your nights,” her grandfather told four women as he read his victim impact statement in a Saskatoon provincial courtroom last week. 

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Taysup, a 35-year-old mother of two, lived in a different unit at 315 Avenue H South when she was fatally shot around 1:10 p.m. on June 10, 2023.

The shooter, Telsa Jade Morin, fired blindly into the suite, according to an agreed statement of facts. The blinds were closed and by all accounts, she had no idea Taysup was inside, or that she’d hit her.

Court heard Morin, 39, was seeking vigilante justice on a woman who allegedly attacked her daughter with a machete the previous day. In a borrowed van, she took her daughter, Jayden Faith Morin, 21, her friend, Linda Florence Gladys Mentuck (Sutherland), 43, and Tanya Faye Desjarlais, 33, to the unit of the alleged attacker’s mother.

The group was captured on surveillance video. Mentuck brought a loaded 12-gauge pump-action shotgun and handed Morin the gun, court heard.

Jayden banged on the door, prompting a man inside to briefly open it. Morin fired as he tried to close it, hitting Taysup, who was visiting, the facts state.

315 Avenue H South.
The Avenue H South apartment unit where Theresa Taysup was shot and killed on June 10, 2023. Photo by Rob O’Flanagan /Saskatoon StarPhoenix

“Theresa was completely uninvolved in the offence against Jayden, and the fact that she was killed is exactly why the justice system needs to strongly denounce anybody seeking to exact revenge on their own,” Crown prosecutor Ainsley Furlonger said, jointly proposing sentences that Judge Marilyn Penner imposed.

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The women pleaded guilty to manslaughter, but Furlonger said their roles require different sentences.

Morin was sentenced to 11 years. She was on a weapons prohibition from a 2017 robbery when she shot Taysup, court heard.

Furlonger said Morin arranged to get a vehicle, masks, gloves and weapons, and fired a gun into a unit she knew wasn’t empty.

“Of the many problems with vigilante justice, one of course is that there’s simply no way to correct it if you get it wrong.”

Regina lawyer Lara Bonokowski said Morin was 17 when she had Jayden, her first of seven children. Court heard Morin’s mother struggled with substance use, and Morin was put in foster care where she was abused.

Bonokowski said her client was reckless, angry, intoxicated and made a “terrible mistake.”

In court, Taysup’s 22-year-old daughter asked the women, who knew Taysup, what they gained from leaving her nine-year-old sister without a mother.

“It was an accident,” one woman replied. “It was a mistake.”

Mentuck received a sentence of eight and a half years. Furlonger said she had been released from custody three days before the shooting and was on a weapons prohibition order. She brought the gun, and the machete. She also pleaded guilty to breaching several release conditions.

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Her lawyer, Julia Quigley, said Mentuck was homeless and intoxicated when Morin picked her up on the street and told her they were going to find Jayden’s attacker.

She said Mentuck used drugs every day leading up to the shooting to deal with an immense amount of loss. Quigley said her addictions issues began after she was sexually assaulted by Jerry Constant, who was sentenced in 2016 for the murder of Saskatoon woman Karina Wolfe.

Quigley said Mentuck is trying to make positive changes through programming. Furlonger said it’s disappointing that it took killing an innocent mother to spark that change.

“(Taysup) was an altogether kind-hearted, loyal, beautiful young woman,” Mentuck wrote in an apology letter.

“I also admit that I learned a great lesson in this tragedy — that is, to choose your friends wisely.”

Jayden Morin and Tanya Desjarlais
Jayden Faith Morin and Tanya Faye Desjarlais (Saskatoon Police) Photo by Mireau, Julie (Police) Saskato /jpg

Jayden was sentenced to four and a half years in prison. She also pleaded guilty to breaching her release conditions while she was on electronic monitoring.

Furlonger said Jayden was the impetus for the revenge mission. Instead of going to the hospital or police to report her attack, she led the group to the Avenue H apartment unit.

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Defence lawyer Mike Buchinski said Jayden basically had to “raise herself” as a teen, leaving school in Grade 9 and using drugs and alcohol.

Furlonger noted the mother-daughter involvement in this “horrific incident.”

“We can see first hand how intergenerational trauma plays a role in offending behaviour.”

Desjarlais — deemed the least culpable in Taysup’s shooting — was sentenced to four years for being the driver. Furlonger said it’s unclear what she knew going in, but she still participated.

Defence lawyer Nicole Bree said Desjarlais’s life unravelled in 2018 after she left an abusive relationship and lost her home. Feeling like she had nothing, she started using drugs and alcohol. She knows this has negatively affected her life and is motivated to be rehabilitated, Bree said.

“Why did you ladies do this to my mom? She was the best mom I ever had, I loved her very much. Now I cry alone in my bed because I miss her,” her youngest daughter said.

Furlonger said this type of “senseless act of violence” continues to be on the rise in Saskatoon. Accepting the pleas to manslaughter, she said the women were intoxicated to some degree, and while the Crown can’t prove it was a “near murder,” it was well beyond a “near accident.”

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