Duran Laplante sentenced to 5 years for fatal Saskatoon stabbing

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A fatal stabbing at a downtown Saskatoon apartment has led to a five-year sentence for manslaughter.

The victim, 24-year-old Elijah Kozak, was found injured in the hallway of Marquis Towers on 5th Avenue North in August 2018.

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He died in Royal University Hospital from a single stab wound to the abdomen.

On Thursday, Saskatoon provincial court judge Sanjeev Anand accepted a joint submission after Duran Laplante, 23, pleaded guilty to manslaughter. Police originally charged Laplante with second-degree murder.

Kozak was in a relationship with Laplante’s sister.

According to an agreed statement of facts, the victim was high on methamphetamine and causing a disruption in the apartment hallway. Laplante confronted Kozak and stabbed him.

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The killer left the scene but turned himself in to police more than a week later.

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Emotions were high in court as family and friends for both the accused and victim were present.

Laplante gazed downward in the prisoner’s box while several family members read victim impact statements. They described Kozak as a “kind and sweet soul.”

They also acknowledged his complicated life.

Kozak’s mother Nadia said there’s “no way to express the grief and loss.”

Laplante apologized to Kozak’s family for what he did. He said he “made a big mistake” and “would do anything to bring [Kozak] back.”

During sentencing, Anand said Laplante has a strong support system – something the judge said the man will need as he comes to grips with his actions.

Laplante’s family could be heard saying “I love you” as he’s taken back into custody.

With credit for 21 months spent on remand, Laplante has 39 months left on his sentence.

Outside of court, Laplante’s aunt said this is “not a win-win situation for either of our families.”

“We have a lot of healing to do.”

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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