June 14th, 2024

Home invasion results in nearly two years imprisonment

By Delon Shurtz - Lethbridge Herald on October 29, 2022.

LETHBRIDGE HERALDdshurtz@lethbridgeherald.com

A 28-year-old woman who threatened her five-year-old son and broke into a neighbour’s residence will spend the next several months in jail.

Megan Amber Scout, who pleaded guilty last week in Lethbridge provincial court to single counts of housebreaking to commit assault and uttering threats to cause death or bodily harm, was sentenced to nearly two years in jail.

Court was told that about 6:40 a.m. on Dec. 2, 2021 Scout, while holding a large knife, kicked in the door to a residential unit at a housing complex in the 1100 block of 5 Avenue North. The family had been sleeping at the time, but was awoken by the daughter who said someone was kicking the door.

As the girl’s mother approached the front door, it was kicked open and she saw Scout standing in the doorway, holding the knife near her head and pointing it toward the family.

“When she kicked the door in she was using nonsensical phrases, talking about the devil,” Crown Prosecutor Dawn Janecke told the judge.

The woman called 911 and pushed the door closed, managing at the same time to get Scout out of the residence. She then pushed a couch up against the door.

Scout walked back toward her own residence, and when police arrived they saw her barefoot outside her residence as she was emerging from some bushes. She was arrested without further incident, and told the officer she had thrown the knife away.

Police spoke to several people living in the complex and was told by an individual living in another unit that at about 4 a.m. he heard a woman yelling and saw a young boy running in the nearby alley and parking lot. Scout was chasing the boy, who had run to another unit and banged on the door, trying to get in.

Scout was yelling at the boy and telling him “I’ll kill you in front of everyone.” Janecke said the witness took the boy inside his residence and was trying to decide what to do and who to call when police arrived.

Scout was taken to the police station where she was seen talking to herself inside her cell, and when her condition appeared to get worse, she was seen by medical personnel.

Janecke said Scout has received two psychiatric assessments, one in February and the other in June, but was deemed fit, although she has cannabis use disorder and schizoaffective disorder, which is a mental health disorder marked by a combination of schizophrenia symptoms, such as hallucinations or delusions, and mood disorder symptoms, such as depression or mania.

Lethbridge lawyer Miranda Hlady said Scout admits the offences, even though she has limited memory of them and thought they occurred the month previous.

“I was disoriented from schizophrenia,” Scout told the judge. “The last thing I remember on November was I was smoking weed and I had angel dust.”

Scout said that when she has a psychotic episode she is unable to control herself.

Janecke acknowledged Scout’s mental health issues, but said the serious offences warrant a significant period of custody. She recommended a two-year prison sentence, but pointed out a sentence between 18 months and more than two years would be appropriate for the break-in and assault alone, and three to five months in jail for uttering threats.

Hlady told court Scout began experiencing mental health problems when she was younger, and she was hospitalized when she was 21 years old.

“Her hopes…are that the court understands that this was a unique event in her life during a period of time when she was, essentially, not well.”

Hlady recommended her client receive a sentence of 16 months for the break-in and assault, and one month for uttering threats.

Judge John Maher ruled that a sentence more in line with the recommendation of the Crown would be appropriate, and he sentenced Scout to 18 months in jail for the break-in and assault, and three months for uttering threats. Scout was given credit for the equivalent of 486 days spent in remand custody, leaving just under five months for her to serve.

Scout will also be on probation for two years after she is released, during which she must comply with numerous conditions, including she reside at an approved residence, be assessed and receive counselling for substance abuse and life skills, and abstain from alcohol and illicit drugs.

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