By Shurtz, Delon on November 8, 2019.
A 64-year-old Lethbridge man who was viciously attacked while in his yard last summer still has trouble sleeping and is unable to enjoy his yard for fear of being attacked again.
The man was simply moving his sprinkler July 3 on his southside residential property when Ashley Brooke Pederson began yelling at him from across the street. She walked toward him demanding to know what he had done with her son, and called him a pedophile. When the man threatened to call 911 and dialled the number on his cellphone, Pederson struck him in the face.
The victim fell to his knees. When emergency personnel arrived he was bleeing profusely from the nose and mouth, and there was a considerable amount of blood on his shirt and the ground.
The man directed police to a home down the road in which he saw Pederson enter, and as she was being arrested, she told police “that guy is a pedophile and deserved it.”
Pederson, 33, pleaded guilty Thursday in Lethbridge provincial court to one count each of aggravated assault and breach of release conditions.
Crown prosecutor Brad Stephenson told court the victim, who did not know his assailant, was struck so hard he thought Pederson had hit him with an object, but she used her fist. He was also on blood thinners at the time, causing the profuse bleeding. His nose was broken and he sustained other facial fractures, and he required reconstructive surgery.
Stephenson told Judge Paul Pharo the growing prevalence of these types of random attacks in Lethbridge recently is shocking, particularly to residents who have lived in the city for many years in relative peace and safety, but have seen the problems escalate in recent months. He said he understands the issues facing drug addicts and the challenges and difficulties they face, yet residents need to be protected from those who won’t “manage their underlying issues.”
He said the vicious attack cries out for a significant jail sentence and he and defence jointly submitted a recommendation of 15 months for the assault. Pharo also sentenced Pederson to an additional 30 days for breaching release conditions on July 12 when she approached the victim and made gestures for him to “kiss his butt.” Part of her release conditions prohibited her from being near the victim’s home or having any contact with him.
Lethbridge lawyer Darcy Shurtz told court Pederson is bipolar and suffers from mental health issues and was not taking her medication at the time of the offences. She also had problems with substance abuse. She has since been taking her medication and is doing well.
“She wants the court to know she is extremely sorry,” Shurtz said.
In addition to her jail sentence, for which she was credited six months for time she already spent in custody since her arrest, Pederson will be on probation for 18 months following her release. She must also submit a sample of her DNA for the National DNA Databank, and she is prohibited from possessing certain weapons for 10 years and others for life.
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