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(CBC) Adonay Zekarias should serve consecutive life sentences for 2 murders, court hears

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Thursday, 12 July 2018

Adonay Zekarias should serve consecutive life sentences for 2 murders, court hears

Adonay Zekarias killed Rigat Ghirmay to keep her from reporting a murder he committed months earlier

CBC News · Posted: Jul 12, 2018 

Adonay Zekarias was found guilty of first-degree murder in the death of Rigat Ghirmay, 28. He is already serving a life-sentence for the killing of Nighisti Semret, 55. (Toronto Police Service)

A Toronto courtroom heard an emotional victim impact statement Wednesday during a sentencing hearing for a man convicted of killing his roommate to prevent her from reporting a murder he committed just months before. 

Adonay Zekarias was found guilty by Justice Michael Brown in April of first-degree murder in the death of Rigat Ghirmay, 28. He killed her to keep her from going to police about the killing of Nighisti Semret, 55, a maid and mother of three from Eritrea.

Zekarias, who is a refugee from Eritrea, is already serving a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years for the fatal stabbing of Semret.

Semret was attacked in a Cabbagetown laneway in October 2012 as she walked home from her job at a hotel. She had been helping Zekarias with his English.

During Zekarias's trial, the court heard he was worried that Ghirmay suspected he had killed Semret and was getting ready to go to the police. 

Zekarias killed Ghirmay, dismembered her body and hid her remains in locations across the city. Some of her remains were found in a duffel bag in the city's west end about a half a year after Semret's death. 

The remains of Rigat Ghirmay were found in a duffel bag.

Family expresses 'inconsolable' grief

The Crown read a victim impact statement from Ghirmay's brother, who wasn't able to make it to Canada for the sentencing hearing.  

He said his family is in pieces.

"With the heaviest of heart words cannot express my inconsolable [grief] that follows me like a shadow since my beloved sister Rigat was taken from us," he said. "She always tried to help everyone, especially Mr. Zekarias."

He ended by saying his family is struggling to bring her remains home to Eritrea.

Concurrent or consecutive sentences

The Crown and the defence made submissions Wednesday on how long Zekarias should spend behind bars.

The Crown told the judge he deserves a life sentence without the possibility of parole for 25 years, and he should serve his sentences for the murders of Semret and Ghirmay consecutively.

The defence argued for concurrent sentences, so he would be eligible for parole in his 60s, instead of his 80s.

Zekarias's sentencing is set for August 14.

With files from Natalie Nanowski and The Canadian Press

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