(CMR) Olga Elizabeth Smith was sentenced to 7 years and 1 month imprisonment Thursday morning after a number of delays and potential please changes in the stabbing death of her 27-year-old boyfriend Marvin Xavier Conolly Armendarez.
The emotional courtroom was packed with family members and media but the defendant remained non-emotional throughout.
Justice Cheryll Richards expressed that this was a tragic situation with the defendant losing her self-control by things said or done by the deceased and were reasonable under the circumstances and it was sufficiently excusable to reduce the charge the manslaughter.
The cause of death was said to be a fatal wound to the neck of the defendant which occurred at the home of Smith in North Side on March 15, 2020.
The facts before the courts were that the couple had an argument earlier in the day where their phones had been damaged. They then spent the afternoon out at a bar drinking before returning home for the evening. A number of eyewitness accounts that followed the incident included from neighbors were summarized for the court.
She had at some point indicated that the wound may have been self-inflicted to the first responders. However, the surrounding evidence in the home showed that there was an altercation as broken furniture was found. The defendant eventually admitted she was responsible for his death.
She had also waited some time before attempting to get help for the victim.
She had pleaded guilty to manslaughter with provocation; which was amended and agreed to plea agreement from her initial charge of manslaughter. The judge accepted that there was some degree of provocation including words and a history of violence in the relationship.
The court heard via the SIR report that the defendant was often in abusive relationships and just 22 days before the incident in question she attended Health City with self-inflicted wounds to her wrist indicating suicidal tendencies.
Said she tried CPR but was unsuccessfully at reviving him. Several victim impact reports were read out in court including the impact on his immediate family. Several family members broke down during the sentencing hearing as they become emotional with his sister shared in hers that she was “broke down and defeated” because of his death. Sharing that “every aspect of our lives have changed … you will live with trauma and pain every day no matter how you try to heal from it.”
The judge shared that there were at least 16 reports made to the police which included domestic assaults and damage to property during the course of their three-year relationship. The deceased was convicted of common assault from an incident in May 2019 where he had assaulted Smith. They mostly argued about money and jealousy.
On the night of the incident, she claimed that he had headbutt her as they argued after returning home from a day of drinking. There was evidence of an altercation including damage to the bathroom, furniture and doors.
The judge had to consider several legal elements including the legal definition of provocation and the UK guidelines issued in 2018 which the Crown argued should be applied in this case. The defense argued that the court should use the old guidelines and now the new guidelines based on loss of control.
The court concluded they would be relying on the guidelines relating to manslaughter with provocation in lieu of specific local sentencing guidelines and the starting point would be
The sentencing hearing of Olga Elizabeth Smith got underway this morning before Justice Richards with additional last-minute written submissions by her attorney. Attorney Oliver Grimwood shared with the court what we argued were relevant details of an incident that occurred in March 2016 with the deceased Marvin Xavier Conolly Armendarez.
He shared that Conolly had been in a vehicle with a friend who had an unlicensed firearm which he then took temporary possession of and took some photos of himself with the firearm. Grimwood argued that albeit not being a substantial matter in the sentencing hearing it should still be something that the court considered for two primary reasons.
He argued that the deceased had pleaded guilty to that offense and had admitted to the facts put to him and it was now being brought to the court's attention to put it in a wider context of the violence and threats of violence that permeated the relationship.
He also noted that the impulsive nature of the deceased was something to consider. Grimwood shared, “this speaks to the unpredictable nature and character of Conolly as the natural and proper reaction is to extricate yourself from that situation”.
He was on bail at the time of his death still awaiting sentencing and Smith was aware of the incident and at the very minimum knew that Conolly had access to guns or had friends that had access to them. He told the court this may have weighed on the defendant and her decisions on that fateful day.
Grimwood also put on record a schedule documenting police call-outs or complaints of history between Conolly and Smith with police involvement. It appears that both parties were making these call-outs to the authorities. He apologized for the lateness of the submission.
However, Nicole Petit for the prosecution argued that the reasonableness of these submissions at this late hour would have to be considered seriously by the court. She pointed out Smith was fully aware of the allegations and facts and a considerable amount of time has passed since the offense in 2016 and the current incident that led to his death. Despite her knowledge of the allegations, Smith continued to live with him the DPP argued.
She further observed that there was no mention of this matter at the time of arrest, during the numerous court dates and previous sentencing hearing, or even at the time of the social inquiry report (SIR) and it was unreasonable that this would not be raised as an issue.
The judge did consider these arguments and noted that “this court considers it surprising that the defendant did not previously mention this.” and as such, it would give this limited consideration.
It was agreed that 24-hour lockdown monitored curfew to be added as time being in custody. The judge considered the time on lockdown as well. The judge started with a sentence before education was 12 years and 6 months before deductions and then reduced to 9 years and 6 months.
There was a further reduction of 7 years and 1 month with time served to be deducted and times served during curfew to be deducted subject to calculations that need to be received from both attorneys.
She is also subject to a counseling order from the DCFS.